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.