There is an ongoing dispute with Ukraine, however, which is not simply a dispute between Hungary and Ukraine, he said. From NATO’s viewpoint, he said, the heart of this dispute is that if Ukraine has signed an agreement in which it has promised not to downgrade already existing legislation for the protection of minorities, then it must abide by that agreement. Mr. Orbán indicated that the issue is about NATO’s credibility and its internal integrity.
The Prime Minister said that “In this instance, NATO’s integrity coincides with protecting the interests of Hungarian minorities; and therefore today I will have to speak out and use robust words”.
Mr. Orbán said that Hungary supports the soonest possible establishment of a joint European army. At the same time, the problem of directing a joint army will be a major technical challenge, he said, but “this is nothing new for us, because we were part of a joint army in the Austro-Hungarian Empire”. Therefore, he added, “we have some experience, which we can offer as a contribution”, stating that the interests of a truly independent Europe are served by it having its own army. He cited this as another reason why all European states – including the Germans – should start spending as much money as possible on setting up a joint army.
As to whether the needs of such an army might clash with NATO, he said that this is a question of intentions and intelligence: if the North Americans do not see this as a measure adopted against them, it is possible to operate a security system based on two pillars.
In closing, the Prime Minister spoke about Sunday’s FIFA World Cup final in Russia between France and Croatia. He said that Hungary has always been a part of the Danube region’s football culture, and therefore while credit for Croatia’s success is due to the Croatians, “we have a slight feeling that we are also involved, as this is also an honour for our region”. He added that he will wholeheartedly support Croatia – not only because the Croats are friends and neighbours to Hungarians, but also because “they represent the football culture of which we ourselves are a part; this is despite the fact that we fall short of – indeed, far short of – the level that the Croatians are capable of”. He noted, however, that “we are birds of a feather”.