'National Consultation' Will Survey Opinion in Hungary about Sanctions on Russia

  • 27 Sep 2022 6:02 AM
  • Hungary Matters
'National Consultation' Will Survey Opinion in Hungary about Sanctions on Russia
Hungary’s government will be the first to ask the people about sanctions imposed on Russia in response to the war in Ukraine, Viktor Orbán said at the opening of parliament’s autumn session.

European countries are now paying a “sanctions surcharge” on oil, natural gas and electricity well above US electricity and gas prices, the prime minister said.

“The EU often accuses Hungary of running afoul of European values, but the highest European value is democracy.”

The sanctions were decided by “bureaucrats in Brussels and the European elite” rather than adopted in a democratic process, he said, adding that European citizens were not asked for their input, even though they are the ones paying the price of the sanctions.

Hungary’s government is launching a “National Consultation” public survey to gauge people’s opinion of the sanctions and to see whether they would support new ones, he said. “If it all goes on like this, Europe will succumb to the worst,” Orbán said.

“Europeans have become poorer and sanctions have failed to bring Russia to its knees, yet an end to the war is not in sight,” he said.

War to Be Protracted, Says Orbán

The war in Ukraine, expected to be protracted, would be a “local conflict” between Russia and Ukraine were it not for western sanctions, which have turned it into a “global economic war”, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said, addressing lawmakers.

While the US the EU are supplying Ukraine with weapons and money, Russia’s reserves of material and men are endless, Orbán said, adding that it was expected that the war in Hungary’s neighbourhood would continue this year and next and it threatened a European and global economic collapse.

Orbán accused the West of being pro-war while Hungary stood on the side of peace.

“We demand an immediate ceasefire and peace talks rather than prolonging and deepening the war,” he said. Hungary’s priorities are “preserving its security and its economic and national sovereignty,” he added.

The government, he noted, has established a defence fund to be spent separately from the central budget funds on army development, border protection and strengthening the national security services.
Orbán said the economic consequences of the war affected families the most.

“Inflation unseen in 40 years is sweeping across developed countries, with the highest rate seen in central Europe.” Drastic energy price hikes are owing to “political decisions in Brussels” rather than economic developments, he said, adding that it may make sense to impose sanctions on economic sectors in which “we are stronger than the country subjected to those sanctions”.

But “we are dwarfs and Russia is the giant” when it comes to the energy sector, he added. If sanctions were lifted, inflation would drop by half and without sanctions the European economy would revive and a recession could be avoided, he added.

Sanctions caused enormous damage to Europe, he said, while Russia had generated a 158 billion euros in revenue thanks to energy exports since the outbreak of the war. “If it all goes on like this, Europe will succumb to the worst,” Orbán said.

More people in Europe are getting angrier, Orbán said, “and the bureaucrats in Brussels must understand that it is irresponsible to gamble the fate of entire national economies and millions of people.”

MTI Photo: Zoltán Máthé

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Orbán Calls on EU to Drop Sanctions

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