Economic pain will change EU position on Ukraine – Orban
EU member states will eventually force Ukraine into peace talks with Russia due to domestic economic hardship, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told Kossuth Radio on Friday.
“Deterioration of the economic situation in the West will force countries to stand up for peace,” Orban said.
The conflict that has lasted for more than a year and a half is affecting the European economy, which “will not be like we want it to be” for as long as it goes on, Orban told the channel's ‘Good Morning, Hungary!’ show. Yet, “war supporters are in the overwhelming majority” among EU governments, he pointed out.
If there is something that might force European capitals to reconsider their position on the conflict, it is the further deterioration of the economic situation on the continent, the prime minister believes. Most people in Europe already share Hungary’s position on the issue, which is anti-war, he claimed. Economic setbacks could force these people to “exert pressure” on their governments, he added.
According to the Hungarian prime minister, the outcome of next year’s US presidential elections might also heavily affect the West’s general position on the issue. “There are two possibilities: … the presidential candidates will either support the war or announce the end of the war,” he said.
Orban said he believes that a US president is fairly capable of “putting an end” to the conflict. That does not mean that Europe should just “wait for a fairy to end the war with a magic wand,” he added.
The prime minister criticized the European approach to the conflict so far by saying that “181 billion of European money” has been spent on supporting Kiev but “we have not come any closer to peace.” It is unclear if he was referring to dollars or euros.
According to Ukraine Support Tracker data regularly published by Germany’s Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the EU institutions and EU nations together pledged a total of €131.9 billion ($139.8) for Ukraine between January 2022 and July 2023.
The UK, Norway and Switzerland, which are not part of the EU, together pledged an additional €23.31 billion ($24.8 billion) over the same period, bringing the total amount of European commitments to €155.21 billion ($165.66), data provided by the Kiel Institute showed.
Viktor Orban has long maintained that the West was making a mistake by pursuing military confrontation with Russia in Ukraine. He has repeatedly stated that there could be no military solution to the conflict, adding that the US and its allies need to stop arming Kiev and seek peace with Russia instead.