A national consultation vote has revealed that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government’s refusal to go along with the unprecedented sanctions Brussels has leveled against Russia—which have wreaked havoc on the bloc’s member states’ economies—is supported by nearly the entire Hungarian population.
The results of the national consultation, in which the Hungarian government asked its citizens about their thoughts on the sanctions against Russia, were released on Saturday, January 14th, and revealed that 97% of the population rejects Brussels’ ill-thought-out sanctions against the Russian Federation, the internet news portal Mandiner reports.
The Hungarian government is the first member state in the European Union to ask its citizens about their opinions on the sanctions. Some 1.4 million Hungarians participated in the government’s national consultation, with 84% responding to the questionnaire by mail while the remaining 16% answered via an online survey.
Commenting on the consultation’s figures on Saturday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán wrote on social media: “The result of the national consultation is clear: Hungarians reject the Brussels sanctions.”
The questionnaire asked Hungarians, among other things, whether they agree with the European Union’s sanctions against Russia on energy, raw materials, nuclear fuel rods, and tourism restrictions.
Orbán’s statements were echoed by government spokeswoman Alexandra Szentkirályi, who took to social media to announce and comment on the results, writing,
Reality is on our side! According to the results of the national consultation, 97% of respondents reject the Brussels sanctions that are causing serious damage. They don’t want oil sanctions, they don’t want sanctions on gas supplies—and the same is true for raw materials, restrictions on investment, tourism, and sanctions that cause food prices to rise. The opinions of the Hungarian people cannot be swept off of the table.
Hungarian MP Balázs Orbán, who serves as the political director for Prime Minister Orbán, also turned to social media to comment on the consultation’s results: “Hungary is the first in the EU to ask citizens their view on sanctions. The results speak for themselves. 97% reject Brussels’ misguided sanctions. Brussels must review its sanctions policy and find a new strategy. We need peace, not new sanctions!”
Prime Minister Orbán has been, by far, the most outspoken critic of sanctions among his European counterparts and colleagues. In September of last year, when he first announced the national consultation, he sharply criticized the way in which the sanctions were enacted. He argued: “The sanctions were not decided in a democratic manner, but Brussels bureaucrats and European elites decided on them.”
In an interview last week with Kossuth Radio, Orbán lamented that Brussels would more than likely double down on its ill-conceived sanctions packages. He also cast doubt on German liberals’ ability to lead Europe properly through this crisis:
That’s why I think that in the next period, due to lack of courage and strength, this misfortune will continue in Brussels. We will introduce new sanctions, which will turn out not to work. Behind this, there is another culture shock that affects us Hungarians. It’s about the Germans. I grew up always being told at home that the German is right! The German is precise, the engineer, he calculates, he doesn’t rush, he knows what he’s doing.
Now I’m looking at what they’re doing, since the Brussels committee has a German president. These sanctions are being imposed, they’re calculated, but they’re not properly calculated from a professional point of view. So, our belief in the crisis management ability of the Germans, stemming from German engineering precision, has decreased significantly in the past period.