There is no Hungarian future without Europe – interview with Katalin Novák in portfolio.hu
There is no Hungarian future without Europe, as there is no European future without Hungary – President of Hungary Katalin Novák emphasized in an interview to Portfolió on Saturday.
"We are an independent, sovereign, grown-up nation, with values and interests " – the Head of State said.
Speaking about the relations between Hungary and the EU, the President stressed: Hungary is not simply "Western-oriented", but has been an organic and inalienable part of the West for at least a thousand years. She is not pleased with the tug-of-war between the European Commission and the Hungarian government, but she agrees that the country’s sovereignty must be protected. She highlighted that we demand the same „full status” membership and respect for the Hungarians that is due to the citizens of any founding member or the countries that joined later, a proper seat at the table in Brussels.
„I wish we could finally return to cooperation based on mutual respect. This will require compromises" she stressed.
In the opinion of Hungary’s Head of State, the EU weakened rather than strengthened in the last decade. It lost the United Kingdom, and in terms of its ability to enforce its foreign policy interests, demography and competitiveness, it is now lagging behind the United States and Asia. "While a new world order is taking shape, Europe forgot the need for joint strategic thinking and put ideological questions in the centre stage. We must wake up!" – she pointed out.
Speaking about relations with the Balkans and the Western Balkans, Katalin Novák underlined: the values of the Balkan countries are European values, their culture is European culture. "The way to facilitate security and stability in this region is to uphold the sovereignty of the individual countries and at the same time involve them into our alliance system ". In her view, the people in the region are increasingly losing their enthusiasm because they see that in spite of their long struggle, full status membership is still far away. Yet their membership is in their as well as in our own best interest.
On the Russian-Ukrainian war, she said: by attacking Ukraine, Vladimir Putin crossed the Rubicon and the Western world cried out as one at the sight of the aggression: no more! Although the war is not against our alliance system, it is here, in our immediate neighbourhood, and in a country where a sizable Hungarian community lives and is struggling to survive. According to Katalin Novák, Europe must become an independent, self-sufficient, economically strong, secure, self-defending and peaceful region.
We must avoid further escalation, the use of nuclear weapons, the outbreak of a devastating World War 3, we need a ceasefire and peace urgently. "Think about the number of lives lost and the number of families whose future has been destroyed by the war and the meaningless violence. This is not a video game, not a virtual battlefield, it's reality covered in blood" she pointed out.
She added: there are those who believe that peace can only be achieved if one side defeats the other, i.e. that armament and war must continue. The Hungarian position, which is shared by Pope Francis and the diplomatic service of the Holy See, is that a ceasefire should be concluded first, followed by the definition of the basic conditions for long-term peace.
"As Head of State, a Christian and a mother, I stand up for the soonest possible ceasefire " – she announced.
Katalin Novák noted that Russia has not been the most important partner for Hungary so far, and will not be in the future. We are reducing our dependence on Russian energy sources, we are diversifying, we are looking for good business opportunities worldwide and we are also trying to make Hungary as attractive as possible for foreign capital. The fact that we are exposed to the uncertain supply of Russian energy is not something we have chosen, but something we have inherited, she said, adding that natural gas still plays an exceptionally important role in Hungary's energy supply, but this dependence can and should be reduced. In the future, we will rely even more on nuclear energy, increase the role of renewable energy sources, and try to source natural gas from more sources.
The President of Hungary highlighted that she believes in traditional diplomacy, her goal is to make sure that all our allies can stand by us courageously and openly. Many are interested in Hungary, which is why she receives many official invitations. Personal meetings with presidents and prime ministers provides an opportunity to demonstrate the alliance and to better understand each other's point of view.
She underlined: very few people are aware of the existence and the problems of the Hungarians in Transcarpathia. Whenever she talks about the war with the leaders of a country, she always draws attention to the difficult situation of the Hungarians living in Transcarpathia.
She also recalled that she recently travelled to Rome at the invitation of President of Italy Sergio Mattarella, where she also met with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. „The interests and intentions of Hungarians and Italians point to the same direction in several areas, including the need to take a firm stance against illegal migration, the need for EU enlargement in the Western Balkans, the protection of Christians and standing up for family values. These are only a few of the areas where we have a close cooperation. And I trust the best is yet to come” -she said.
She remarked that we must monitor the changes in world politics and their impact, but we must stop the practice of letting someone else tell us what we should or should not do, how and when.
"We are an independent, sovereign, grown-up nation, with values and interests. We need to take these into account first and foremost, and thus increase our room for manoeuvre," Katalin Novák stressed.
She highlighted: it would be good to find the way back to a pragmatic cooperation with the United States, and this is also true for China. It is in our interest to understand each other with our ally, the United States, as well as with China – both with the West and with the East – the President of Hungary concluded in her interview to Portfolió.