- 24 Oct 2023 6:56 AM
- Hungary Matters
“We had to dance to Moscow’s tune,” Prime Minister said in Veszprém, in western Hungary. But if “Brussels whistles”, he added, “we dance as we like, and won’t if we don’t want to.”
“Comrade training” was now a “conditionality procedure”, he said. “Tanks aren’t rolling in from the east; dollars are rolling in from the west … to the same people.” Moscow, he said, had been “beyond repair”.
“But Brussels and the European Union can still be mended,” he said, noting the upcoming European elections. The “sacrifice” of the 1956 revolutionaries was only worth it if “we also protect, live and pass on Hungarian freedom,” he said.
“They didn’t die in vain if we don’t live in vain,” he said, suggesting that Hungary could “give something to the world that only we can give”.
Veszprém, as the cultural capital of Europe, “is doing exactly that: showing the whole of Europe what Hungarian culture and freedom is like.”
The prime minister said: “We must defend freedom or else we’ll lose it”.
This had been true in 1956 and in 1990, “and it’s true today”, he added.
Orbán: Hungary ‘Holding Back’ Belligerents
Addressing a commemoration of the 1956 uprising, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Hungary was the “first and only” country trying to “hold back the European peoples from willingly marching into an even greater war”.
Referring to the “chivalrous Hungarian people”, Orbán said that “again and again those whom we saved turn against us” when “we are defending them”.
He said Hungary had defended Europe against migration “and we were the first to propose peace instead of war, which might well have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”
Hungary, he said, had never got appreciation, “but often gets a slap” and “friendly fire”. “This is the Hungarian destiny, a pattern that repeats itself from time to time,” he added.
Orbán said that it would be wrong to assume the revolution had taken place in the capital alone. “Every town and village … is part of our great common freedom fight … and it is not only unfair and condescending but also wrong” to regard the revolution as an event that happened solely in Budapest, he said, adding that it was right to “bow our heads” in memory of the 1956 freedom fighters in Veszprém.
The prime minister said that around 3,000 people died and 20,000 were wounded in gunfights, while the communist retaliation saw more than 200 people sent to their deaths and 13,000 imprisoned. Fully 200,000 Hungarians fled the country, he added.
The people who suffered and were executed in prison were from all walks of life, he said. “They executed a priest, a worker, a farmer, a teacher and a Communist Party leader, the old, the young, men and women, people from Budapest and the countryside,” proving that the uprising was truly a common freedom fight of the nation, he said. “An entire nation stood in bloodshed.”
Orbán called the 1956 revolution and freedom fight a “spark of Hungarian genius”. He said 1956 had been the last chance for a European Hungary “to tear itself away from the world of Bolshevik socialism” which had banished “European culture, Christian civilisation and the right of nations to exist”.
“The Hungarian revolution and freedom fight wasn’t an inarticulate howl or a fit of rage of the oppressed, it wasn’t a gasp of those panting for revenge; neither was it an unbridled outburst of desire for freedom.”
Rather, he said, it was it was “a sober, moderate and responsible movement”, notwithstanding “the breathtaking heroism” and bravery of the revolutionaries. He paid tribute to a local teacher, Arpad Brusznyai, who had ties to Veszprém, who at the age of 33 was executed after the revolution, saying he had protected youth against “the dictatorship’s marauders” and was the pure embodiment of Hungarian genius.
Szijjártó: Brussels Sticking to 'Pro-War' Approach to Ukraine
The approach to the situation in Ukraine remains a “pro-war” stance in Brussels, with the European Commission’s 20 billion euro package containing “everything about war, but nothing about how to achieve peace”, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Luxembourg, speaking at a press conference after a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council.
Szijjártó said the bloc’s foreign ministers had discussed the proposal on security guarantees for Ukraine which also contains a 20 billion euro weapons delivery package for the next four years as well as a plan to send a military training mission to the country.
The proposal also touches on the development of Europe’s defence industry, with some advocating for military industrial investments in Ukraine, too, Szijjártó said. Other key components concern Ukraine’s reconstruction and further sanctions against Russia, he added.
“So it includes everything that concerns war, but unfortunately it still makes no mention in any way of how peace may be achieved,” the minister said.
“It’s clear that the European approach, Brussels’s approach to the developments in Ukraine remains pro-war.”
Brussels expects the war in Ukraine to continue over the next four years, as evidenced by the allocation of an annual 5 billion euros for more weapons deliveries, Szijjártó said.
“If we don’t expect the war to continue over the next four years, then why would we need to spend this much on delivering weapons to Ukraine over the next four years?”
“So this proposal is about everything connected to war, but there is still no one in Brussels, Luxembourg and western Europe willing to talk about how there will be peace,” the minister said.
Europe, he insisted, continued to suffer from “war psychosis” and was unwilling to even discuss the possibility of peace. The view in Brussels, he said, was that the solution to the war lay in the battlefield, but the past year and a half indicated that this was not true.
“There are only casualties and destruction on the battlefield,” Szijjártó said. “And the more casualties and the greater the destruction, the worse the conditions for peace become.” He said Hungary opposed the idea of setting up arms factories and a training mission in Ukraine, arguing that such a move would immediately drag the EU into the war.
Szijjártó also protested against what he called attempts to use security reasons to put pressure on Hungary to accelerate Ukraine’s EU accession.
“The European Union isn’t a security organisation but a political and economic bloc, so justifying a country’s future membership exclusively with regard to security is completely unacceptable to us,” he said.
The minister said several of his EU counterparts had talked about “a certain Ukraine fatigue”, meaning that it was hard to keep the European public invested in the war.
"This is especially true now when the events there are also taking a back seat to the conflict in Israel,” he added. “If this is true, then it underlines more emphatically the urgent need to make peace,” Szijjártó said. “Because it is only with peace that we can save lives and prevent destruction.”