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Hungary's opponents want to use the crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine to force a return to the era of former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told a meeting of MPs of ruling Fidesz and Christian Democrats.

The coming year will be about these opponents trying to “bring Hungary to its knees and take away its sovereignty”, the daily Magyar Nemzet cited Orbán as telling the meeting in Esztergom, in northern Hungary, on Wednesday. “The stakes this year are extremely high because the Soros empire, bolstered by the governing Democrats in the US are launching an attack against the right-wing media … in the majority of European countries,” Orbán said. “It’s clear that in America, where this matters, they want to send [former US president Donald] Trump straight to prison so that he doesn’t threaten the power of [US financier George] Soros and the Democrats,” he said. “The globalists need the European Commission and the US president, and Hungary is the thorn in their side on the way there.” He said the reason for this was that “Hungary is the freest country in Europe today”. There is a fence on the country’s border and there is family policy instead of immigration, he said. Schools are free of “gender ideology”, Hungary does not deliver weapons to Ukraine and does not want to get dragged into the war, he said.