The sanctions against Russia “that have been offered by the West” do not serve Hungary’s interests, “in fact they are a major threat to us”, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said after meeting Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić in Belgrade on Friday. He said most worrying was that “as we head into an increasingly severe economic crisis” it was becoming clear that the situation would improve immediately if the sanctions were lifted. “So it’s not just about us suffering from a long, painful series of measures, but that it could all be undone in a single move,” the prime minister argued. Orbán said he would always argue against sanctions that hurt central Europe more than the country they are targeting. In response to a question regarding the report about Hungary approved by the European Parliament on Thursday, Orbán said: “We’re not laughing about it anymore because we are bored with it; it is a boring joke they’re making for the third or fourth time — the EP approving a resolution condemning Hungary.”
“At first we thought it had some significance but now we just consider it a joke,” he added. “The European left-wing has occupied the EP” and “our former party alliance”, the European People’s Party, has been gradually shifting to the left, Orbán said. The proportion of votes has precisely reflected this process, with the right-wing parties voting in support of Hungary and the left-wing parties voting against Hungary, he added. Orbán said that instead of objective opinions, the report contained party political attacks. “The standard of the approved document simply makes us consider it political propaganda or pamphleteering,” he added. Hungary regularly holds elections involving the forming of a parliamentary majority, and whenever the majority is right wing, the left wing dislikes the situation and “they hold intifadas in the European Parliament”, Orbán said. After receiving the award, Orbán said he considered the recognition an encouragement to continue boosting Hungary-Serbia friendship. The renowned 19th century statesman István Széchenyi already recognised that the interests of Serbia and Hungary were so closely intertwined that they must maintain a friendship, the prime minister said. When the current Hungarian government is working for Serbian-Hungarian friendship it is fulfilling a long-standing mission, he added. Hungary is a country that must maintain friendship with Serbia, Orbán said. “We have a shared goal: to jointly protect the southern gate to Europe, which is a mission and a responsibility for both countries,” he added.