Hungarians see a solution in early peace talks
As the September analysis of Századvég emphasised, the Russian-Ukrainian war and Brussels' sanctions policy have led to an explosive increase in energy prices, energy shortages and wartime inflation across Europe in recent months. While Europe's interests would dictate that peace talks ending the armed conflict should start as soon as possible, leaders in Brussels are considering new punitive measures. In addition, it has been suggested that the European Commission should acquire powers of extraordinary military management at the expense of the Member States, which also suggests that Brussels is planning to “settle” for a state of war in the long term rather than promoting peace.
In contrast, the research by Századvég reveals that
more than four-fifths (86 percent) of Hungarians agree that Russia and Ukraine should be forced into peace talks in order to end the war as soon as possible.
Since the leading politicians involved in the Russian-Ukrainian crisis are still not interested in peace, it is not surprising that their perception among the Hungarian population is negative.
The proportion of those who have an unfavourable opinion of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is estimated at 68 percent, the same as in June, while the camp of those who have a negative opinion of Vladimir Putin has declined from 72 percent in June to 69 percent.
The perception of US President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has not changed significantly compared to June:
in September, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those polled expressed an unfavourable opinion of Biden and half (50 percent) of the respondents expressed an unfavourable opinion of von der Leyen.
Sanctions policy causes harm to Europe
Since February, Brussels has adopted seven punitive packages to put pressure on Russia. However, the war conflict has not been stopped and Russian troops continue their battlefield operations in Ukraine. Despite this,
sanctions policy remains a constant factor on the European political agenda. In August, the Government of Estonia submitted to the European Commission a formal proposal to draw up an eighth punitive package,
which would, among other things, impose a full energy embargo and new restrictions on certain groups of goods.
Concerns about the effectiveness of sanctions are shown by
the fact that half of the Hungarians (50 percent) believe that the sanctions imposed on Russia so far are already excessive, while a quarter (25 percent) of those surveyed believe that the measures already introduced are sufficient,
there is no need for further steps. Interestingly, in May, only 31 percent of respondents considered the sanctions imposed so far to be excessive.
The proportion of those who think the punitive measures taken against Russia in recent months are not enough is estimated at just 20 percent.
The negative consequences of the sanctions policy for Europe are also reflected in the opinion of the population, namely,
72 percent of those surveyed consider the sanctions imposed so far by the European Union and the United States of America to be more harmful for Europe, including Hungary,
while 21 percent consider the measures mentioned to be rather useful.
CATI method, n=1000, among the adult Hungarian population, data collection: September 2022