Orbán: We will not pay Ukraine anything until we know where the money went

June 30. 2023. – 02:35 PM


Orbán: We will not pay Ukraine anything until we know where the money went
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gives an interview to Kossuth Rádió at the office of MTVA in Brussels during the two-day meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the EU Member States on 30 June 2023 – Photo by Zoltán Fischer / Prime Minister's Press Office / MTI


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The "migrant hordes" aren't a usable workforce, and the EU has reached the limits of its capabilities because of its support for Ukraine, Viktor Orbán said in a statement on the public station Kossuth Rádió on Friday. He was optimistic about Hungary’s economic prospects, promising a much lower inflation and a growing economy after the next 7-8 difficult months.

"There is no money in the EU budget. Where has the money gone? We know the answer, they gave it to Ukraine, for a war that should never have happened in the first place," Viktor Orbán said. His usual statement, given in the form of an interview, was this time delivered from Brussels, where the prime minister is attending the two-day summit of EU leaders. The main issue of the meeting is the budget amendment called for by the European Commission.

Orbán: We will not pay Ukraine anything until we know where the money went

According to Orbán, the Commission had announced that the money had "run out" – even though we are only halfway through the seven-year budget. The Hungarian Prime Minister said it was unacceptable to oblige member states to pay billions more, while the money would be going to Ukraine.

Ukraine has received €70 billion in the space of a year and a half, which is already "a big enough problem" and now another €50 billion would be given to the war-torn country, he said.

"Who is checking to make sure that it is being spent on what we gave it for?" – Orbán asked, saying the EU was facing a long debate over the loan to Ukraine.

The Prime Minister noted that EU bureaucrats are also asking for a few billion euros to “raise their own salaries.”

And all the while "they are demanding that Hungary abolish the cuts in utility costs. In other words: the Hungarian people should pay more for their utilities at home, but we should send them more money, which will give them higher salaries.

The whole thing is so absurd that it doesn't only make Hungarians' blood boil, but the leaders of almost every EU member state feel the same.”

"After two and a half to three years, the European Union is essentially on the brink of financial bankruptcy," Orbán said.

“No one came to the two-day EU summit so they could give more money towards the salaries of the EU bureaucrats instead of the families and citizens who are struggling back home.”

Orbán said there was no chance that the committee's decision would be adopted during the two-day summit. He said that "a long fight was about to start." There will be negotiations, but the Hungarian position was clear:

“We won't abolish the cuts in utility tariffs, we won't give money for raising the salaries of bureaucrats here, we won't give more money to Ukraine until they tell us where the 70 billion euros we gave earlier went.”

The Hungarian PM also spoke critically of the fact that the EU would have to provide an €18 billion interest rate increase on the loan taken out to alleviate the economic consequences of the coronavirus epidemic. As Hungary did not benefit from this amount because of the rule of law procedure, it does not wish to contribute to the cost of the interest rate increase.

Orbán insisted that the EU's approach to Russia's war against Ukraine is the wrong one. He said that the now dominant idea that money should be given to Ukrainian soldiers so they could fight, that this would be a way to "defeat the Russians," was misguided.

"The way I see it, a year and a half has passed, there is no result, things are even in the negative. We have not defeated Russia, the Russian political leadership is still in place, the Russian economy is doing well, – and we are the ones suffering from high inflation, we simply can’t afford to support the Ukrainians", Orbán said, without mentioning that Russia's political leadership had just had an unprecedented internal conflict over the weekend with the rebellion of the leader of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and that Russia's energy revenues are set to decline this year. He also failed to mention the fact that Ukraine's military results are quite visible, as Russia's military goals for a blitzkrieg have not been achieved.

Orbán however believes that there will be no real change if the EU doesn't change its attitude, and that a ceasefire and peace talks are needed, otherwise "a lot of people will die." Although, it must be noted that Russia has not come up with a proposal that could be a basis for negotiations.

"The EU has reached the limits of its abilities. There is no money in the EU budget. Where has the money gone? We think we know the answer, it is somewhere in Ukraine. Where is the money of the Hungarians? Where is the money of the Poles? I am afraid it’s in Ukraine. They gave it towards a war that should never have happened in the first place," Orbán said, without specifying that it was Russia that launched a war against Ukraine.

However, Orbán said that "the money for all our spending ran out a long time ago, which is why they want to keep taking loans " in the EU, so we can continue to support Ukraine beyond our abilities – "using the money for the wrong purposes".

A war about migration

The other part of the budget debate revolved around migration on the first day of the two-day summit.

"A war was fought about migration in the conference room, some people are still having their wounds bandaged...it was a freedom fight, not a rebellion," the prime minister said of the debate, saying that those "siding with migration" had come up with a "coup-like proposal".

This was clearly a reference to the fact that despite Polish and Hungarian objections, the Council of Interior Ministers passed the proposal to set up a migration quota system. In the Prime Minister's interpretation, this happened because "there has been a change at the head of the Soros empire, the big one has been replaced by the little one" – i.e. George Soros has been replaced by his son, who "admitted that he will be much more active in politics than his predecessor.”

Orbán said that according to the decision, "Hungary should take in at least 10,000 migrants a year", whose resettlement would lead to the creation of "migrant ghettos", which is a wrong direction because this would not provide European economies with a good workforce. Orbán remembered the 2015 migrant crisis as the time "when the migrant hordes passed through". He said that regulating the arrival of guest workers should not be confused with migration. "The decision they are making will take our country away from us," he said.

The result of the decision according to the Prime Minister, wlil not be the arrival of migrant workers, but a deterioration of public safety. "Their citizens are being blown up, and there are terrorist acts", Orbán said, adding that "the solution is simple" and Hungary has demonstrated it: It's in controlling our borders – Hungary has spent two billion euros on this – and asylum applications can only be submitted abroad, at the Hungarian embassy in Belgrade and Kyiv. As a result, Hungary has only had to process 45 applications, and those who were granted asylum are most probably no longer in Hungary.

Orbán also explained that Hungary was not only spending on border protection, but also on humanitarian programmes in the countries from which the greatest migratory pressure is expected.

Inflation is high because of the war

The Prime Minister said that Hungary is in one of the most vulnerable positions because of the rise in energy prices due to the war, but this will not be permanent: "Paks will help and once Paks2 is built, it will be of even greater help", but in addition to the nuclear power plant which is to be built (according to current contracts) by Russia, Hungary has also made great strides in the use of solar energy. It is likely that we are one of the best in Europe when it comes to solar energy, but this is also a matter of independence."

Orbán also repeated that inflation must be brought down as soon as possible. The tools used for this so far have been the cuts in utility bills, the price caps, and the mandatory sales.

The Prime Minister believes that inflation can be brought down to a single digit by the end of the year, in fact "beginning in August, wages will grow more than prices", Orbán said, adding that the economy would grow next year. The Prime Minister sees 7-8 difficult months ahead, which will be followed by a recovery.

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