In reply to a question at a forum following his speech at the 27th Bálványos Free University, the Hungarian prime minister said that “NATO membership is something which is important and good; it contributes to the security of the Hungarian people, and its protective umbrella is vital to the security of Central Europe”. He also said, however, that he had revised his earlier view that NATO, in its current form, is sufficient to guarantee peace on the European continent.
“The withdrawal of the British from the EU has led to a significant reduction in the continent’s military strength, and from a military policy perspective we must not remain in this defenceless position”, Mr. Orbán explained. For this reason, he said, a European army must be established which would be a true joint force with true joint battalions, and a shared deployment language and structure.
Mr. Orbán also said that national budgets must be reconsidered and the arms industry must be included in economic policy thinking, but he added that it would take years for this to be achieved, and “let us hope to God that in the meantime we have no need of a European army which can function without the British and the Russians”.
According to the Prime Minister, “A European army must protect the continent from two sides, from the East and from the South, in terms of protecting against terrorism and migration”. Mr. Orbán said that he believes one of the reasons that migrants and people traffickers are continually trying to enter Europe is that they can see that the continent is weak. “Europe cannot even continue to exist without an alliance – a joint EU army”, he said.
The Prime Minister does not support the inclusion of other states in V4 cooperation
Mr. Orbán also said that he does not support the inclusion of other states in the Visegrád Group (V4) cooperation. In his opinion any expansion of the V4 would represent a risk, and accordingly be believes that it is a better idea to establish concentric rings, with countries “which can contribute to the strength of the V4 without undermining its homogeneity”. He added that the primary candidate is Austria, which we also need “because they are seen by the outside world in a different way than we are seen”. He said that next week he will take part in negotiations with the Chancellor of Austria about the possible presence of Austrian police, soldiers and equipment on the Serbian-Hungarian border.
Mr. Orbán indicated that he supports the Polish proposal for establishment of a V4 parliamentary assembly, in addition to which the Group is also working on establishing a joint V4 army; this would not be equivalent to a joint European army. “The Central European Union must be drawn closer together, but it must not be placed at odds with the EU”, he stressed. “While the EU exists we Central Europeans can better assert our interests from the inside, rather than try to do so from the outside”, he added.
In reply to another question the Prime Minister said that the result of the US presidential election is in no way irrelevant, but is important – as are the views on migration held by the next American president.
The United States is one of the main supporters of the immigration pressure affecting Hungary
In reference to President Obama’s statement on the issue at the NATO summit, he said that “One of the main supporters of the immigration pressure affecting Hungary today is the United States. This partly occurs through its official policy”.
“According to the Americans, anyone who doesn’t see immigration as positive and as something that should be encouraged, and who doesn’t see it as an asset, is a reminder of the worst mentality of the 20th century. This is the Democrats’ point of view, and since the current President is a Democrat, this is the official policy of the United States”, he pointed out.
“It is important who the next president is and what they think about immigration”, he said. He stressed that he was not criticising the Americans, but that he simply wants to make it clear that the thing which they see as right and proper is the thing which is killing us.
From an American perspective, he said, he even understands why immigration is seen as something positive, because this is how the United States came into being, “but they should understand that in this story, now we are the Indians”.
People who do not go to vote will be leaving the decision to everyone else
On the subject of the autumn referendum on the mandatory migrant relocation quota, Mr. Orbán said that “People who don’t go to vote will be leaving the decision to everyone else”. The Prime Minister said that the point of the referendum is to provide the Hungarian administration with an “extremely strong mandate” for the major EU debates expected to take place in the autumn.
The Prime Minister was also asked about the financial support the Government is providing to Hungarians living in Transcarpathia. He said that the Hungarian government is doing much more than is being made public to ensure that life in Transcarpathia does not collapse; it is helping everyone who lives there and who is in a difficult position.
Mr. Orbán also said that at every EU summit he recommends that Ukrainian citizens should at least be granted visa-free travel into the European Union.
In summary, he said that “There is no sign of stability in Ukraine, and the country has lost a significant part of its territory and its population. The previous economic structure has collapsed and its existence depends on external financing; the cost of the measures required for survival has increased. From a European perspective the situation in Ukraine is a question of conscience, and today Europe is not doing well in this respect”. He pointed out that Europe has hardly done anything to help rebuild Ukraine’s economy.