BUDAPEST -- Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has imposed a new state of emergency in the country, citing the war in Ukraine, which he said “poses a threat to our physical security.”
Speaking in a video message posted on Facebook on May 24, Orban said no one can see an end to the war, which began three months ago when Russia invaded Ukraine.
“This war means a constant danger to Hungary. It poses a threat to our physical security. It threatens our economy and our families in terms of energy supplies and material security," Orban said.
The war and the sanctions imposed by the European Union have led to huge economic turbulence and drastic price increases, he said.
“The world is on the brink of an economic crisis. Hungary must stay outside of this war and must protect the families' material security," he added.
The state of emergency, which is to begin at midnight, enables the government “to react with all available instruments to protect Hungary and Hungarian families,” he said.
Hungary already is under a state of emergency that was declared because of COVID-19, but it is due to expire on May 31.
New rules that will be in effect under the change will be announced on May 25, Orban said.
Shortly before the announcement, the Hungarian parliament amended the constitution to allow for such a measure.
Orban's Fidesz party, which won reelection on April 3, commands a two-thirds majority in the chamber.
The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) denounced the declaration, saying the state of emergency "has become permanent."
The move gives Orban "more leeway than usual," allowing him to "restrict or simply suspend everybody's fundamental rights," TASZ said.
Orban, in power for 12 years, has been accused by his Western partners of abuses of power in his country, a member of both the European Union and NATO.