Orbán on sanctions: step by step, we are sliding towards war

November 18. 2022. – 09:49 AM


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Every Friday, Hungary’s prime minister gives an interview on one of the state-owned radio stations. Since the independent media has not had a chance to interview him for several years, these weekly radio interviews are the only opportunity to find out what the leader of the country thinks about current events, how he sees his opponents and any issues at hand.

When there is a war in your neighbourhood, you cannot feel safe either physically – after all, two Polish people who had nothing to do with the war died – or economically, Viktor Orbán told Kossuth Rádió in his semi-regular Friday morning interview, as another national teachers' strike was taking place in the country, and a ten-kilometer long human chain was being formed in Budapest.

His battles regarding the sanctions on Russia

When asked about the EU sanctions against Russia, Orbán said that Hungarians have never supported them, but "Hungary cannot afford" to veto at every step. In such cases, "we have to fight to have different rules apply to Hungarians, and added that "so far, Hungary has always gotten out of these situations".

Orbán also said it was "not a comfortable situation" to be fighting twenty-six prime ministers at the same time. But added:

"I am sure that after fighting some big battles, I will be able to ensure Hungary's exemption if there is a ninth sanctions package", for example in regards to nuclear energy.

"A policy of sanctions is a step towards war", because if you intervene in a military conflict with sanctions, you are taking a stand for one side or the other and thus also a step towards war, he said. Orbán said that "step by step, we are sliding towards war. We are not being shot at yet", but we are getting close to it. However, according to him, no one else is following this line of thinking and no one else can see beyond tomorrow, towards a more distant future.

He acts when it's needed

"This inflation was caused by political decisions", EU political decisions, Orbán said of the inflation in Hungary. Hungary has an eleven-step solution plan for the situation, the latest of which is the price freeze on eggs and potatoes. But you cannot impose a price freeze on everything, because then we would return to communism, Orbán said.

The prime minister mentioned that he had lead the country through three major crises and had learned that when there is trouble, there are two paths for the government and the prime minister to choose from: "one option is to duck, curl up without squirming, and as the trouble is coming from the outside, wait for it to pass". The other option is to act. He chooses to act, he said.

There was no mention whatsoever of the country-wide teachers' strike or the human chain organised in several cities across the country (even as the interview was going on) in support of the educators' demands.

Viktor Orbán avoids critical questions at home. It’s been years since he gave an interview to independent media. However, for years, most Friday mornings he has been a regular guest on state-owned Kossuth Rádió, where he is interviewed by a leading editor of the public broadcasting service (operating from an annual budget of 320 millions of euros). Katalin Nagy has been almost exclusively the only person allowed to interview Orbán on the state-owned channel throughout his third and fourth term with a two-thirds majority in parliament. She has received the state decoration of the Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary and doesn’t shy away from asking questions.

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