Budapest, Hungary – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban painted a grim picture of the decade to come in his acceptance speech on Monday.
“This decade will be an era of dangers, insecurity, and wars,” Orban said after officially being elected as Hungary’s Prime Minister by the National Assembly.
The Hungarian Premier, who kick-started his fourth consecutive term after his landslide election win in April, also warned of “a period of recession and economic downturn” caused by the warn in Ukraine and the EU’s sanctions against Russia.
Orban, who frequently clashes with Brussels on a wide range of issues, also accused the EU of “abusing its power” and of trying to restrict the sovereignty of European member states.
At the same time, several top EU officials sent their congratulations, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen declaring she was “looking forward to working together with Hungary to successfully address” the unprecedented challenges faced by Europe.
Hungary and other Central European states, including neighbouring Slovakia and Czech Republic, have so far refused to get on board the EU’s plans to impose a ban on Russian gas and oil imports, seeking an exemption from Brussels’ sixth sanctions package against Moscow.
Orban, who is facing growing isolation in the EU over its lukewarm response to Russia’s invasion, had previously argued that an embargo on Russian oil amounts to “a nuclear bomb” for the Hungarian economy, asking for a five-year extension for Hungary to implement it.
One of the government’s arguments, that Hungary is a landlocked country and cannot receive oil shipments by sea, recently sparked a diplomatic row with Croatia after Orban suggested that their access to the sea had been “stolen” from them.
On Monday, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis accused Hungary of holding the rest of the EU “hostage” with its veto, echoing growing frustration across European capitals towards Hungary and other blocking nations.
In his acceptance speech on Monday, PM Orban repeated Budapest’s position that Hungary would not back sanctions that can pose a threat to the country’s energy security.