In what has become a yearly tradition, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave a speech this past Saturday to the Tusnádfürdő (Baile Tusnad) summer university in central Romania.
In his talk, the Hungarian Premier touched on a great deal of topics, but focused on Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, who has become a prime target of a recent government campaign painting the financier as the ‘enemy’ of the Hungarian people.
On Soros, the EU, and the Refugee/Migrant Crisis
Speaking to the audience gathered in Transylvania, Orbán claimed that the European Union must regain its “independence from the empire” of George Soros. He also told the crowd that “an alliance” had formed in Brussels between “the European bureaucratic elite and the Soros empire in opposition to the people”.
The Hungarian PM also claimed that a supposed “Soros plan” exists, which involves importing one million migrants to the EU and giving them 15,000 euros each. Moreover, migrants would be distributed among member states by a new EU agency, he said. Despite these claims, however, no such plans currently exist, and there is no concrete evidence to support such assertions.
Referring to some German politicians accusing Hungary of not being loyal to the rest of the EU, Orbán said that Hungary had spent as much as 260 billion forints (850 million Euros) on defence against the wave of migration (referring to the border fence that the country has constructed), and argued that “the EU should not speak about solidarity before they repay what they owe us for protecting Europe”.
He also expressed his view that Europe must restore its independence and undergo reforms in order to survive and remain European. According to Orbán, reforms should begin by putting an end to migration, with each EU member protecting its own borders.
Referring again to his claims of a ‘Soros-Brussels’ plot to bring more refugees and migrants into Europe, the Hungarian PM said that promoting migration is not an adequate response to economic problems. Specifically, he compared solving economic problems with migrant labor to a castaway drinking seawater, saying that “It is water, but it will only aggravate the problem.”
Going further, Orbán claimed that the culture of migrants and refugees “is in sharp contrast to European culture”. While in Europe equality between women and men is the norm, in Islamic culture women are subordinated, he said. Further, according to the Hungarian Premier, Muslim communities consider their culture stronger than Christianity.
He claimed that “integration can never succeed,” because “the stronger never adapts to the weaker.” He also expressed his view that “We can never be loyal to ideas, people or groups that aim to change European culture.”
Orbán added that
Here in eastern Europe, 27 years ago we thought that Europe would be our future. Now we think that we are Europe’s future.
On another subject, Orbán said Serbia’s EU accession should be concluded as soon as possible. The prime minister also called for a “historic” agreement with Turkey and Russia.
On Encouraging Families
Referring to his government’s earlier position that economic problems should be addressed through promoting childbirth rather than using immigrants, Orbán said that Hungarian families should have on average 2.1 children to make the country “biologically sustainable”. He said that the government could promote such tendencies through building a pro-family environment.
He noted that the Hungarian government collects funds from multinational companies in the form of special taxes to finance its family subsidy system.
“We take away a part of the large profits to give to those who work and raise children thus ensuring the nation’s future,” Orbán said.
This rhetoric comes on the heels of the World Family Summit held this past May in Budapest, where Orbán announced additional government policies designed to support families.
On the V4
Concerning the Visegrád Group, an alliance between the Central European countries of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, Orbán said that “Warsaw, Prague, Bratislava and Budapest are now on the same page”. He said that the greatest achievement of the past year was that the V4, whose presidency was assumed by Hungary last month, has gone ‘from strength to strength.’
On 2018 Elections
Discussing next year’s parliamentary elections, Orbán returned once again to George Soros, claiming that “it is at stake whether the Soros plan can be implemented and the (border) fence pulled down”. He insisted that as long as he is prime minister “the fence will stay”, and Hungary will protect its borders.
The Hungarian Premier also claimed that the opposition “openly advocates” pulling the fence down and allow immigrants in. The opposition “will agree with a complete and mandatory distribution of migrants; they are ready to deliver Europe to a future of a new and mixed (ethnic) composition”, Orbán said.
These comments were a thinly-veiled reference to comments made by Socialist (MSZP) PM candidate László Botka. In an interview with wire service Reuters, Botka was asked if he would dismantle Hungary’s controversial anti-migrant border fence on the Southern border with Serbia. While his response has generated much rhetoric on the part of the ruling Fidesz party, Botka in fact merely said that
he would dismantle a fence along the border with Serbia as soon as European Union border protection controls are in place and the situation in the Middle East calms down.
Nevertheless, Botka’s remarks have widely been seen as a major tactical mistake.
The prime minister added that he thought “Brussels bureaucrats” and Soros are interested in weakening central Europe, which is “seen as an obstacle” in implementing the supposed ‘Soros Plan’. Orbán also claimed that “There are some forces in Europe which would want a new government in Hungary because that would weaken the V4.”
He also expressed his view that “Hungary has not been closer to becoming a strong and prosperous country again since the Trianon peace treaty (of 1920) than now”, but warned that “that historic chance could again be lost for decades if Hungary has a (new) government serving global interests”.
Question and Answer Session
Orbán also addressed audience questions at a Q&A session.
Asked about whether he sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin or with US President Donald Trump, Orbán said it was best if foreign policy was not tailored to particular individuals. Foreign relations should be shaped so that partners “are interested in Hungary’s success”. Russia, the United States, as well as China, Israel and Turkey are all such countries, he added.
“For seven years we have been working to build a foreign policy based on our own national interests rather than being tied up in alliances,” he said. “Only one piece of the puzzle is not in place: Brussels.” This “problem” may be solved after next year’s election, he added. “It is not impossible; we see an opportunity.”
Answering a question on autonomy for ethnic Hungarians, Orbán said his government supported such initiatives “as there is no better option, period”.
Regarding Brexit, Orbán said he did not share the “Brussels attitude of seeing the United Kingdom as an enemy”. The idea that a country is necessarily worse off outside the EU is mistaken, and each nation should decide where their own interests lie, inside or outside. “We’ll remain friends even if the UK is not an EU member.”
Asked whether his government’s measures may cover ethnic Hungarian communities in the future, he said “it’s only a matter of time”. According to the PM, “The ice was broken” when one type of Hungarian family subsidy was extended to Hungarian households in neighboring countries.
When questioned about pending legislation in Poland that would strip powers from the judiciary, Orbán said Poland “has not at all acted against EU principles or ideals”. Brussels’ treatment of Poland is, according to the PM, “unfair, unjust, indecent: a typical example of double standards.” He added that the Hungarian government was loyal to Warsaw.
Interestingly, since Orbán’s speech, new developments have come to light on this matter, as Polish President Andrzej Duda announced today that he will veto parts of the controversial legislation that would have given his government greater control over the judiciary.
Asked why the Hungarian government did not adopt “a tougher approach to representatives of the Soros empire”, Orbán said “it may yet happen”, but that his government would not go beyond certain ‘European limits.’
The Premier claimed that Soros had interfered in Hungary’s national security and “crossed a line by using his money, people, and institutions to forward migrants to Europe.” He added that “this is against the security of the Hungarian people and against Hungary’s interests … this is inexcusable.”
Attempting to link the government’s anti-Soros campaign to terror attacks, Orbán claimed that “this is not about George Soros but about a life without terrorism, retaining our identity, and the security of the Hungarian people.”
Via MTI, kormany.hu, Hungary Matters, CNN, Politico, and the Financial Times
Images via MTI