I really hope that this is just an administrative error and that it is wrongly stated in the official communications, because if it is true that Hungary is the only country excluding itself from the European voluntary programme to help Ukraine, then Orbán and his mates are once again putting the whole nation on the world’s wall of shame. And Hungarians do not deserve that at all.
As is known, almost immediately after the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the so-called EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which has been in operation in the European Community since 2001, was activated as a matter of urgency. This cooperation and coordination tool can provide effective assistance in the event of natural and humanitarian disasters: all EU Member States and six other non-EU countries, including Iceland, Norway, Serbia, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey, participate in the programme.
In recent years, this mechanism has been activated in more than 500 cases, for example, when Member States received masks, medical gloves and ventilators during the covid pandemic. In the wake of the murderous attack on Ukraine, the European Commission called on Member States to make voluntary donations within their means to help tackle the crisis. 26 EU Member States and 1 non-EU nation have joined the programme, offering blankets, food and other supplies. Hungary is the only EU country not yet included among the participating and donating countries. It is not clear why as of yet.
It would be outrageous if now too the Orbán government were to try to mess with Brussels as some lonesome maverick, since millions of lives are at stake. If it is not merely a case of administrative delay or some other acceptable reason, then by staying out of this Fidesz once again proves its immense inhumanity and vileness. (Perhaps the government has confused this humanitarian cooperation with the rescEU programme, under which the Hungarian state has just sent Ukraine 200 overpriced ventilators, which generate extra income for Fidesz; this is, however, a completely separate programme.)
But, of course, what can we expect from Fidesz, whose prime minister is able to look the Hungarian people in the eye and keep on lying even amidst a war that has killed thousands of people?! Viktor Orbán said in his latest radio statement that NATO will not defend us unless we can defend ourselves. In other words, whoever attacks us, the alliance will not come to our aid, and our membership of NATO is worthless.
Interestingly, a few days ago, in another statement on public television, he said that Hungary’s security can only be guaranteed within the NATO alliance. Let us leave aside the fact for now that it is the government propaganda trumpeting the need for ‘strategic calm’ and ‘calm talk’, while Orbán is apparently rambling on and on, and the Fidesz leaders are trying to shake off ten years of warm and friendly pro-Russian statements with similarly confused phrases.
But Orbán’s statement on NATO is much more serious though: his confirmation as head of government that we will never be protected by the Euro-Atlantic military alliance is, in fact, an invitation to the dance. So, while lying that the opposition wants to drag our country into a war of the Russians, the Prime Minister is saying in public that we will never have one of the world’s most powerful, unified armies behind us. When not far from the Hungarian border, Russian tanks are marching on, is this not insanely irresponsible?
Moreover, Orbán has once again pulled out his old lies, when he said that the European Union had not given Hungary any support to deal with the refugee situation, and that we had not received “a single cent” from Brussels for the protection of the southern border. This is a massive, blatant lie, which is easy to refute, as since 2015 the European Commission has provided the Hungarian government with a total of around €137.14 million, or roughly HUF 45.5 billion, to cover the costs of immigration and border protection. It is quantifiable, traceable and accountable.
I understand that Fidesz party members, who grew lardy on the public purse, do not even notice a HUF 45.5 billion sum of ‘small change’ that just drops in from Brussels, but at least they should not lie about it and use it to agitate Hungarian society. It is a shame and a disgrace that Fidesz can only lie and steal in times of epidemics and war. They deserve to be chased away in April.
Member of the European Parliament
6 March, 2022.