Hungary's ex-PM calls for central European alliance against Russia

Published: January 27, 2009

Viktor Orban, the leader of the opposition party Fidesz in Hungary and a possible future prime minister, has called for a new central European alliance, to protect the interests of CEE countries against Russia.

Speaking at the Euromoney CEE Conference in Vienna in mid-January, Orban said: “I feel that a central Europe alliance is necessary. We need an independent security policy; a means to ensure our energy security; and also an alliance to push forward transport integration in central Europe and to establish a common development policy for the region.”

Orban warned that the EU needed to take a tougher line with Russia. He said: “Russia has made two requirements that are not acceptable for European civilisation. Firstly, it has said it has legitimate security interests outside of Russia, so it can decide, for example, whether other countries can join NATO or not. That’s dangerous.”

He went on: “Secondly, Russia wants to buy out alternative sources of energy around the region, and to monopolise gas deliveries to the whole region, which is totally against our values.”

Orban said that the Russo-Georgian war of August 2008 testified to “the weakness of common EU security policy”, and added: “We in central Europe have a different approach to emerging Russian power, and it’s obvious that sooner or later, central Europe will emerge as an independent player in security.”

Orban also called for the establishment of a development bank for central Europe along the lines of the EBRD.