Poland and Hungary have been twinned for many years. Both have been together in their opposition to the ideological impositions of Brussels.
Hungary and Poland: currently frozen relations
As we saw in March, relations between the two countries had cooled off due to Viktor Orbán's position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Orbán has had good relations with Vladimir Putin for years. After the Russian aggression on February 24, the Hungarian government refused to send military aid to Ukraine and to allow military aid from other countries to pass through. through Hungarian territory. Because of this, the Visegrad Group, which brings together Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, canceled its meeting scheduled for March in Budapest, as Poles, Czechs and Slovaks refused to attend in protest against Orbán's attitude towards the invasion. Relations between Hungary and Poland have been practically frozen ever since.
Orbán's speech in Romania: "we do not want to become peoples of mixed-race"
On July 23, Orbán delivered a speech in the Romanian city of Băile Tușnad, before the attendees of the 31st Bálványos Summer Free University and Student Camp. It is a speech that has given much to talk about. The official text of the speech in English can be read here. There are two themes of that speech that have generated controversy. The first, which is the one that is having the most media coverage, consisted of the reference that Orbán made to the racial question:
"The internationalist left employs a feint, an ideological ruse: the claim – their claim – that Europe by its very nature is populated by peoples of mixed race. This is a historical and semantic sleight of hand, because it conflates two different things. There is a world in which European peoples are mixed together with those arriving from outside Europe. Now that is a mixed-race world. And there is our world, where people from within Europe mix with one another, move around, work, and relocate. So, for example, in the Carpathian Basin we are not mixed-race: we are simply a mixture of peoples living in our own European homeland. And, given a favourable alignment of stars and a following wind, these peoples merge together in a kind of Hungaro-Pannonian sauce, creating their own new European culture. This is why we have always fought: we are willing to mix with one another, but we do not want to become peoples of mixed-race. This is why we fought at Nándorfehérvár/Belgrade, this is why we stopped the Turks at Vienna, and – if I am not mistaken – this is why, in still older times – the French stopped the Arabs at Poitiers."
This part of the speech was not liked in Poland, because it is a predominantly Catholic country and has welcomed for centuries ethnic minorities, such as Jews and Tartars, who have long time integrated in that country. Marshal Józef Piłsudski, the first Head of State of the Second Polish Republic and a leading figure in Polish history, was a well-known protector of ethnic minorities. On the other hand, the battles of Poitiers, Belgrade, and Vienna were fought to stop Islam, not a particular race. It is a mistake to confuse religion and race, as the left precisely does by calling "racists" all those who warn against the Islamization of Europe.
Orbán's references to Poland's position in the face of the Russian invasion
Continuing with Orbán's speech, the second issue that has caused controversy, especially in Poland, refers to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Orbán acknowledged that the war "has shaken the Polish-Hungarian cooperation that has been the axis of V4 cooperation" (Visegrad Group), and added:
"As regards the war, the Poles and the Hungarians have the same strategic interest: they do not want the Russians to come any closer, they want Ukraine’s sovereignty to be preserved, and they want Ukraine to be a democracy. We both want exactly the same things, and yet this war is making relations with our friends difficult. This is because when it comes to matters of the head, the interests that I have talked about are clearly aligned; but the problem is matters of the heart. The problem in Hungarian-Polish relations is one of the heart. We Hungarians see this war as a war between two Slavic peoples, and as one which we want to stay out of. But the Poles see it as a war in which they are also involved: it is their war, and they are almost fighting it. And since this is a matter of the heart, we cannot come to an agreement with each other on it, but must use our intellect to salvage everything we can from the Polish-Hungarian friendship and strategic alliance for the post-war period."
Orbán also added the following about the war: "We will maintain our view that this is not our war. Hungary is a NATO member and our starting point is that NATO is much stronger than Russia, and so Russia will never attack NATO. The statement that Russia will not stop at Ukraine is a weak – but understandable – propaganda talking point used by Ukraine. I understand it, because their aim is to involve us, to involve as many countries as possible on their side in this war; but it lacks any basis in reality."
Orbán assumed the Russian theses on the invasion of Ukraine
These statements by Orbán clash squarely with the Russian State Duma's threat against Poland that it would be the next invaded, a very serious threat launched in May. But what has bothered Poland the most is that Orbán assumed the Russian theses on the invasion. He did it with these words:
"The Russians have made a very clear security demand, and have even written it down in a way that is rare in diplomacy, sending it to the Americans and NATO. They have written their demand that Ukraine should never be a member of NATO, that Ukraine declares this, that NATO itself assures Russia of this, and that we undertake to never place weapons on the territory of Ukraine that could hit Russian territory. The West has rejected this offer and has refused to negotiate on it. They have said that NATO has an “open door policy”: the door is open, anyone can apply and we will decide whether or not we want to take them in. And the consequence of this refusal is that today the Russians are seeking to achieve by force of arms the security demands that they had previously sought to achieve through negotiation."
Orbán is not telling the whole truth about Russia's "security demand". On December 17, 2021, the Russian Foreign Ministry published the draft treaties to be signed by Russia, one with the US and the other with NATO. With both documents, which in reality was a clearly unacceptable and humiliating ultimatum for Western countries, Russia demanded a right to veto the US military presence in any NATO country and that it leave Poland and other NATO nations defenseless. the Alliance. If the US and NATO had bowed to the Kremlin's demands and had signed both documents, that would have made Europe a hostage of Russia.
His attempt to demobilize Western military aid to Ukraine
In his speech, Orbán also made the Russian slogans to try to demobilize Western aid to Ukraine:
"The Ukrainians will never win a war against Russia with American training and weapons. This is simply because the Russian army has asymmetric superiority. The second fact that we must face up to is that the sanctions are not destabilising Moscow. The third is that Europe is in trouble: economic trouble, but also political trouble, with governments falling like dominoes."
This is not the first time that Orbán has aligned himself with Russia. Let us remember that he is linked by a friendship with Putin. Perhaps for this reason, in 2014 and in 2020 Orbán criticized European sanctions on Russia on the occasion of the invasion of Crimea. When Orbán now says that Ukraine will not win the war, is he making a simple analysis or is this another attempt to favor Russia?
Orbán proposed something very similar to the 1938 Munich agreement
To answer that question, just continue reading Orbán's speech, specifically when he says the following: "now the task of the European Union is not to stand alongside either the Russians or the Ukrainians, but to stand between Russia and Ukraine. This should be the essence of a new strategy."
After proposing this equidistance between the victim and the aggressor, Orbán adds: "the more that NATO countries supply modern weapons to the Ukrainians, the further forward the Russians will push the front line. This is because they are a military nation that thinks only in terms of security and is only interested in ensuring that it is not attacked from Ukrainian territory." Finally, the Hungarian Prime Minister added: "there will be no Russo-Ukrainian peace talks. This is an idea that we should get used to. Anyone expecting such talks will be waiting in vain. Since Russia wants security guarantees, the war can only be brought to an end with Russo-American negotiations. There will be no peace until there are Russo-American talks.".
Orbán said this in the same speech in which he assured that he wanted to preserve the "Ukraine’s sovereignty". But how to preserve the sovereignty of Ukraine by proposing that the war end with an agreement between two powers and that it ignore Ukraine? We must remember that the proposal that Orbán has made with that declaration is not new: it is the same thing that the Germans, French and British did in Munich in 1938, and that led to the disappearance of Czechoslovakia, with the annexation of Bohemia and Moravia to the Third Reich, and a year later led to World War II, with a Germany strengthened by concessions and attempted appeasement by the British and French.
Morawiecki confirms parting ways between Poland and Hungary
This Friday, the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, confirmed that Orbán's speech implies a separation of paths between Poland and Hungary. With that speech, Orbán opens a gap with Poland, but also within the European conservative movement. From now on it will be difficult to bring together one of his great referents, the Law and Justice party that governs in Poland, with Orbán and his party, Fidesz. With his position, Orbán is not only doing a great favor to Putin, but also to the progressive elite in Brussels, by weakening and disuniting the only movement that faces his impositions.
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