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In an interview with public radio, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán praised the government’s National Consultation surveys as a “Hungarian specialty”, designed as a “tool of vibrant democracy” after the 2010 crisis when “maintaining national unity, or at least majority, was key.” The last round of surveys have clearly shown that Hungarians reject European Union sanctions against Russia “because they understand the damage they cause”, he said.
Hungarians believe sanctions failed to help Ukraine and “bring Russia to its knees”, but inflicted “enormous damage on” the EU and Hungary, Orbán said. This year, Hungary will lose 3,764 billion forints (EUR 9.7bn) in lost growth, he said.
Meanwhile, the EU is planning a new sanctions package expanding the restrictions to the nuclear industry, he warned. The prime minister said his “success at the negotiating table” depended on showing that Hungarians were united against sanctions. “The successful National Consultation is of great help and possibly the most important factor in ensuring success,” he said. Although the EU has criticised the number of participants in the survey, “their opinion is neither here nor there”, Orbán said. “They will have to face the prime minister at the negotiating table, and the more forceful the people have expressed their opinions, the harder that will be.”
While Hungarians want to make their voice heard in the EU, the voice of those opposing the war in western Europe is being oppressed, he said. “Western European countries are trying to get through this time of war with the least possible disturbance from the voice of the people,” he said. The prime minister said that more than 90% of Western media was “globalist and liberal”, while Hungarian readers had access to liberal and globalist views of the war as well as to the patriotic, conservative view.
Regarding the issue of opposition campaign financing, Orbán said the lesson to be learnt was that in addition to the existence of a “dollar left” in Hungary, there exists a “dollar media”. Positions represented by the left wing in the most important issues, such as migration, gender and the war, were “harmful to Hungary”. “The reason why they do this has only become clear now: because they get paid for it,” Orbán said. “They represent these positions because they get paid for that,” he added. At the same time, right-wing parties “must not abandon hope and continue to strive for full national unity on important issues,” he said.
Orbán said it was hopeful that the source of the money would be revealed. “The technique for bringing in resources is already known: they came through a network linked to [US financier] George Soros,” he said. “Once the facts are revealed, it will be necessary to create legal regulations for a system of defence against politicians that can be bought with money,” he added.