The West’s consistent criticism of Hungary on democratic and cultural issues discourages the small European country’s right-wing government from supporting practical matters, such as NATO’s escalation against Russia, according to the nation’s foreign minister.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Friday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó stated that his country has not voted on whether to allow Finland and Sweden to join NATO because Hungarian legislators are weary of these nations’ criticisms of Hungarian domestic affairs.
Legislators from the ruling party intend to vote in favor of Finland’s request on Monday, but “serious concerns” have been expressed about Finland and Sweden in recent months “mostly due to the extremely disrespectful behavior of the political elites of both countries toward Hungary,” Szijjártó said.
“You know, when Finnish and Swedish politicians question the democratic nature of our political system, that’s really unacceptable,” he said.
The European Union, which is comprised of 21 NATO members, has suspended billions of dollars in aid to Budapest and accused populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban of restricting media freedom and other rights.
The administration of Orban has also been accused of tolerating an entrenched culture of corruption and co-opting state institutions to benefit the ruling Fidesz party.
Last year, in a resolution of the European Parliament, EU legislators declared that Hungary had become “a hybrid regime of electoral autocracy” under Orban’s nationalist government, and that its subversion of the bloc’s democratic values had removed it from the community of democracies.
Szijjártó stated that this censure sparked opposition in Hungary and made it difficult for the government to support Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership applications. Skeptics assert that Hungary has merely sought to secure lucrative concessions.
When it comes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Szijjátó stated that his country’s advocacy for peace does not entail accepting that Russia would retain the territory it presently possesses.
“You know, stopping the war and sitting down at the table does not mean accepting the status quo,” he said. “When the war ends and peace negotiations begin, it is not necessary that the borders be where the front lines were. We know this from our own history as well… A cease-fire must be implemented immediately.”
As for relations with the United States, according to Szijjártó, they were at their peak under former President Donald Trump. Under President Joe Biden, his administration faced more difficulty.
Szijjártó described Hungary’s government as “clearly rightist, right-wing, Christian Democrat, conservative, and patriotic” in flawless, virtually accent-free English. Afterwards, he utilized terminology that was familiar to millions of Americans.
Thus, we are fundamentally opposed to the mainstream in all of our characteristics.
“It’s not digestible for the liberal mainstream if you oppose the liberal mainstream and continue to win elections,” he said. Under President Trump, the political relationship has never been better.
Trump’s approval of Hungary’s policies toward its own citizens was essential to the development of this relationship. Human rights organizations and European politicians have condemned the law as an assault on the Hungarian LGBT community.
Szijjártó stated that Trump was more receptive than the Biden administration to such measures. He never sought to impose anything. He was never interested in pressuring us to alter our perspective on family. He never desired that our perspective on migration be altered.
Szijjártó remarked that he never desired for us to alter our approach to social issues. He added that Trump’s attitude toward Russia would be more welcomed by some parties today. During Trump’s presidency, Russia did not initiate “any attack against anyone,” Szijjártó stated.