Orbán calls Ukraine war a 'military operation' during annual press conference

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Orbán uses Putin's terminology to describe Russia's invasion of Ukraine 

Hungary's far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán called Russia's invasion of Ukraine a "military operation" during his annual press conference in Budapest. Russian President Vladimir Putin often uses the term military operation. It was not the first time Orbán used a different word for the war that resulted in numerous casualties. “There was no declaration of war between the two countries. When Russia declares war, there will be war,” the Hungarian leader explained to journalists.

Fotó: Németh Dániel/444

Orban's proximity to Russia and lack of support for Ukraine, including advocating for the removal of economic sanctions against Moscow, has drawn criticism from Hungary's EU and NATO allies. He blocked the European Union's $54.8 billion financial aid package for Ukraine last week. Having met with Putin in October in Beijing, Orban is the first EU leader to engage with the Russian president since an international arrest warrant was issued for war crimes in Ukraine. 

Hungarian FM expresses concerns over Colorado Court decision

After Colorado's Supreme Court had ruled that former US president Donald Trump is disqualified from being on the ballot for the 2024 presidential race, Hungary's Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó expressed disapproval in a Facebook post.

"Let's imagine: if something like this happened in a patriotic government in a Central European country... How many minutes would it take for the European Parliament to declare the death of democracy, how many minutes for the US State Department to issue a condemnatory statement, and how many minutes for the European Commission to freeze even more EU funds that have not been allocated, and how many minutes for the global liberal media network to run editorials proclaiming the destruction of the rule of law on every surface???," the foreign minister wrote, concluding that there is no one raising their voices now, and not because of the holidays.

Szijjártó previously criticized US Ambassador David Pressman for commenting on certain events in Hungarian domestic politics.

Hungary is the second poorest country, Eurostat reveals

According to recently released Eurostat data, Hungary is the second-poorest country in the European Union based on actual individual consumption (AIC) per capita. The AIC per capita figures reveal that Bulgaria has the lowest levels, standing at 31% below the EU average, followed closely by Hungary at 29% below. Although Hungary's numbers improved by 1% compared to 2021, 2022 witnessed a decline in consumption levels due to record-high inflation in the EU.

Viktor Orbán has articulated an ambitious vision for Hungary, aiming to transform it into one of the top five most livable countries in the EU by 2030. He has set a target for Hungary's economy to achieve 90% of the development level observed in Austria by that time. However, the Hungarian daily Népszava suggests that at the current pace of development, Hungary would only catch up with Austria in approximately fifty years. 

Hungary would lift veto on Ukraine aid for remaining EU funds

Hungary is willing to remove its veto on European Union funding for Ukraine, contingent on the release of billions in EU funds previously withheld from Budapest due to concerns over the state of democracy in the country, according to Balays Orbán (no relations to the PM) political director to Viktor Orban.

At the heart of the impasse is Hungary's resistance to a comprehensive four-year $54 billion support package for Ukraine scheduled to commence next year as part of a broader dispute over the EU budget. Orbán, the Hungarian PM's political director told Bloomberg that Hungary is aiming to extract a substantial amount in exchange for its approval.

Balazs Orban emphasized that Hungary views the issues of its EU funding and Ukraine's financing as distinct matters. However, he pointed out that if the EU insists on tying Ukraine's financing to an amended EU budget, the two issues become intertwined.