Orbán Criticises US Democrats, Ukraine & Sweden at Qatar Economic Forum

  • 24 May 2023 6:36 AM
  • Hungary Matters
Orbán Criticises US Democrats, Ukraine & Sweden at Qatar Economic Forum
American Democrats are far more “ideologically led” than the Republicans, and Democrats “like to convince you and sometimes force you how to live,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha.

“I don’t like it,” the prime minister said in a discussion with Bloomberg editor-in-chief John Micklethwait.

“We have our own culture, the culture defines how we live, don’t interfere, please!” “Don’t educate us, don’t say what is good, what is bad… we don’t like that. It’s not your job.”

No nation should tell Hungarians how to live their lives, he said. Former President Donald Trump “understands” that, he added.

Orbán: Hungary’s Decision to Block EPF Funds 'a Question of Principle'

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha on Tuesday that Hungary’s decision to block European Peace Facility funds to Ukraine after the country blacklisted Hungary’s OTP Band was “a question of principle”.

In a discussion with Bloomberg editor-in-chief John Micklethwait, Orbán said: “[I]f a country like Ukraine would like to get your financial support … they can’t put your companies on the blacklist … So if you need our money, please respect us, and don’t sanction our companies.”

Answering a question on Hungary “not being keen” on Sweden’s NATO accession, Orbán said political relations between Hungary and Sweden were poor. “We would not like to import conflicts into NATO”, and they should be solved before Sweden joined the alliance, he said.

Regarding the EU’s decision to withhold funding for Hungary, Orbán said that differences of opinion regarding “decoupling” concerning the bloc’s policy vis-a-vis Beijing and its handling of the Ukraine war were at the root of the decision.

Unlike the EU, Hungary stands for connectivity, and strengthening commercial and political ties, he said. Chinese investments offer a “huge opportunity”. “Why should we miss it?” Orbán said. Whether China becomes a long-term opponent or partner of the West is “our decision”, he said.

Hungary’s LNG purchases from Qatar, which Orbán announced on Monday, are expected to start in 2026, he said. Besides energy security, Hungary also sees Qatar as a potential partner in agriculture, information technology and security, he said. Christian and Muslim countries can find common ground along traditional values such as God, the nation and the family, he said.

Regarding the upgrade of Hungary’s sole nuclear plant at Paks, under way under a contract with Russian state-owned Rosatom, Orbán said acting along national interests in Europe quickly resulted in being branded pro-Russian. But, Orbán added, he stood for Hungary and Hungarian national interests.

Orbán in Doha: Ceasefire Needed in Ukraine

A ceasefire and peace talks are needed instead of escalating the war in Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha.

Hungary’s viewpoint of the war differs from that of the European mainstream because it is a neighbour of Ukraine, which has a sizeable Hungarian minority, Orbán said in a discussion with Bloomberg editor-in-chief John Micklethwait.

Many of those Hungarians have lost their lives in the war, he added. “This war is the failure of diplomacy. It should have never happened,” he said. The main question is not “who invaded whom” but to save the lives that would be lost if the war continues, Orbán said.

After a ceasefire is negotiated, the issue of a new “security architecture of the European continent” should also be on the agenda, Orbán said.

Peace is only possible through an agreement between Russia and the United States, the prime minister said. Orbán travelled to Doha on Sunday on an official visit at the invitation of his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.

Finance Minister Mihály Varga and Economic Development Minister Márton Nagy were part of the delegation.

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