Viktor Orban warned that harsh measures against Moscow might backfire and cause food insecurity as well as mass migration.
Viktor Orban (Hungarian Prime Minister) has criticised the EU’s tough sanctions on Russia. He likened the EU measures to a nuclear weapon that can backfire. This could lead to mass migration and food shortages in Europe.
Orban stated that Budapest was not in agreement with Brussels’ anti-Russian sanctions decisions during a Saturday meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. According to Orban, the punitive measures would likely cause damage to Hungary and lead to increased prices as well as economic collapse.
The Hungarian prime minister went on to describe the “Sanctions against Russia are introduced” as “The equivalent of an atomic bomb” as they could potentially lead to a situation where Hungary would not “We must be able feed our fellow citizens.” On top of that, he said recent developments could also result in a new migrant crisis.
The Hungarian leader warned of a “Winter can be brutal” ahead, because “We have an explosion in inflation and rising prices. Famine is raging in many areas of the globe. And we are fighting a war against Ukraine.”
Orban added that both Hungary and Serbia have their fair share of problems – the former because of being an EU member state, the latter because of being outside the bloc.
He also stressed the importance of the agricultural industry in preventing migration crises, predicting that farmers will be the “heroes” of 2022.
The Serbian president concurred with Orban’s view on the upcoming winter and the importance of domestic produce and food reserves, saying that “Farmers will help save people in Serbia, and other countries in hard times.”
Vucic thanked Hungary also for allowing Serbia to store its energy resources in the country.
The two leaders vowed to lend a helping hand to one another, with President Vucic saying that “If Hungary is short of anything, Serbia will provide it. Budapest will take care of us if we are short.”
While condemning Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine, Hungary, unlike many other European states, has stopped short of providing weapons to Kiev or letting shipments from third countries pass through its territory. Orban insists that Hungary will not be drawn into the conflict.
Thousands of Ukrainians fleeing fighting have been welcomed by the country in central Europe.
Concerning anti-Russia sanctions: The Hungarian leadership repeatedly warned the EU about an embargo of Russian oil and gaz. This is because Hungary relies heavily on Russian energy imports.
Orban blocked the EU’s sixth package of sanctions against the Kremlin earlier this month as it would have obliged member states to stop buying Russian oil. Budapest claims that this cannot be done overnight and will cause a serious economic blow to itself. On top of that, a transition to alternative sources of energy would be costly, with Orban urging Brussels to cover Hungary’s projected expenses, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.
Each side is trying to find a solution.