Hungary’s government is hesitant to support NATO’s buildup against Russia due to constant criticism from the West regarding Hungary’s democratic and cultural issues. Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó spoke about this in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday.
Szijjártó also mentioned that Hungary has not voted on whether to allow Finland and Sweden to join NATO due to their critiques of Hungarian domestic affairs. However, lawmakers from the governing party plan to vote in favor of the Finnish request. Serious concerns have been raised about Finland and Sweden in recent months, particularly due to the disrespectful behavior of their political elites towards Hungary.
Furthermore, the EU has frozen billions in funds to Budapest and accused populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban of cracking down on media freedom. Last year, EU lawmakers declared Hungary to be “a hybrid regime of electoral autocracy” under Orban’s nationalist government.
They also accused the government of undermining the bloc’s democratic values and taking Hungary out of the community of democracies. This criticism has raised objections within Hungary and made it difficult for the government to support Finland and Sweden’s bids to join NATO, according to Szijjártó.
Szijjártó also spoke about Hungary’s advocacy of peace in regards to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He clarified that advocating for peace does not mean accepting Russia’s control over the territory it currently holds. He stated that “stopping the war and sitting around the table does not mean that you accept the status quo,” and that “cease-fire has to come now.”
In terms of Hungary’s relations with the United States, Szijjártó said that they had a heyday under former President Donald Trump. However, his government has found things more difficult under President Joe Biden. According to Szijjártó, Hungary is “a clearly rightist, right-wing, Christian Democratic, conservative, patriotic government” that is “against the liberal mainstream in any attributes of ours.” He suggested that the government’s success, despite its opposition to the liberal mainstream, is “not digestible for the liberal mainstream itself.”
Szijjártó spoke about Trump’s attitude towards Hungary’s policies towards its own citizens, particularly the ban on sharing materials with minors that are deemed to be promoting homosexuality or gender reassignment. This law has been criticized by LGBT politicians across Europe. Szijjártó claimed that Trump was more accepting of such measures than the Biden administration. He also suggested that Trump’s attitude towards Russia would be more welcome by some parties today, as during his term in the White House, Russia did not start “any attack against anyone.”