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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, in an interview with the weekly Mandiner published on Wednesday, said that irrespective of who sat in which party group, the most important question when it came to this week’s European parliamentary elections was how many pro-war and pro-peace MEPs would be elected. The prime minister said he did not reject working with leftists provided that they were pro-peace. Orbán said the most important task was to “resist efforts aimed at preparations for armed intervention outside NATO’s territory”. He underscored the need for institutions that were pro-peace and aimed to improve competitiveness, saying that positions in the European Union should be filled by politicians who wanted to carry out these policies. Orbán said everything possible needed to be done to prevent the expansion of the war between Russia and Ukraine. He said that from Ukraine’s “national perspective”, it was “logical” to try to escalate the war, arguing that the Ukrainians felt that the more countries they could involve in the war against Russia, the greater their chance of victory was. “Hungarians, however, know that they have to stay out of the war, because getting dragged into it goes against Hungarian national interests,” he added.
Meanwhile, Orbán said the reintroduction of mandatory military service was not on the agenda in Hungary, underlining that NATO guaranteed the collective defence of its members, so “Hungary can afford the luxury of only having a professional army”. Commenting on European People’s Party leader Manfred Weber’s remarks on European military conscription, Orbán said Weber wanted a “European imperial army”. Rejecting the idea, Orbán said this would entail “conscripting our soldiers into the imperial army, and then we’d get the news from somewhere about what’s happening with the Hungarian boys on the front”. He said Hungary needed a military of its own, arguing that “the responsibility of deciding on the blood of Hungarians can’t be transferred to any empire.” The prime minister said Germany should exercise “more restraint”, arguing that Germany was “taking advantage of being the biggest in the European Union and going back to speaking from strength”. Orbán said there was a “natural friendship” between Germans and Hungarians, adding, at the same time, that “some caution” on Germany’s part would be justified regarding the issues of the Holocaust, sending armoured vehicles to a former Soviet territory and migration. “The Germans want to force migration onto us, they want to tell us whom we should live together with, but in the past they wanted to tell us whom we shouldn’t live together with, and they took the Jews away,” Orbán said.
The prime minister, however, said there was a need for cooperation in European military policy, which could involve coordinated European military industry development carried out “within a national framework”, the protection of the market for European military equipment so that Europeans buy arms from each other, the coordination of military strategies as well as a European defence alliance based on national contributions that would operate similarly to NATO.
Meanwhile, Orbán criticised the performance of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, saying she had found herself “stuck between being a politician and not being one, and that’s what has caused the trouble”. “We need a Commission president who knows that we’re their employers,” Orbán said. “Ursula von der Leyen is an employee of the 27 prime ministers. What gives her the right to represent any kind of political opinion?” Orbán said the European Council needed to take back control, the EC should be “pushed back into an executive role” and the European Parliament “should be wound up in its current form, and we should go back to national parliaments delegating MEPs”.