Hungarian Opposition Parties React to Orbán’s Speech in Transylvania
Tom Szigeti 2017.07.24.
On Saturday, as we have reported, Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán gave a speech in which he discussed the EU, the ongoing refugee/migrant crisis, Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, the upcoming 2018 elections, and many other issues facing Hungary.
Naturally, Orbán’s comments have already generated controversy and commentary; here are a few reactions from Hungary’s opposition parties to the Prime Minister’s speech.
Responding to Orbán’s speech, László Botka, the Hungarian Socialist Party’s (MSZP) candidate for Prime Minister in the upcoming 2018 parliamentary elections, claimed that voters will have to choose “between Viktor Orbán and Europe.”
According to Botka, the choice Hungarians face is between “an unjust Hungary lagging behind”, led by Orbán, and a future “built on equality and justice”.
Botka insisted that Orbán was trying to turn Hungarians against Europe, and was using the Visegrád 4 alliance of countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia in addition to Hungary) “as an instrument” to manipulate the EU.
Botka claimed that emigration, not immigration, is the largest problem facing Hungary. He also expressed his view that emigration would escalate into “the largest exodus” in Hungarian history, unless current Fidesz economic policies “favoring only the rich” are dropped.
By way of reaction, the left- wing Democratic Coalition (DK) said that the PM has “lost any contact with reality” and “got caught up in his own propaganda”.
DK deputy leader Tibor Nagy-Huszein told a press conference that Orbán’s speech failed to address real problems such as the country’s ailing health care or education systems, or why salaries were in the lowest range within the EU.
Nagy-Huszein said that Orbán had alluded to possible future alliances which would be in conflict with the EU (such as with Turkey and Russia), and suggested that “Orbán could still be working to lead the country out of the EU”.
Bernadett Szél, co-leader of the green opposition LMP (Politics Can Be Different), said that Orbán’s ruling Fidesz is “not Europe’s future but Hungary’s past”, which “a renewed Hungary” will have no use for after next year’s election.
The Liberal Party said that Orbán’s “anti-European” policies were detrimental for the country. It is not “migrants, George Soros, Brussels, or NGOs” that pose a danger to Hungary but the government’s “continuous hate-mongering” which jeopardizes both Hungary’s EU membership and peace within society, the party said.
The party also argued that Orbán uses the Visegrád countries to weaken Europe rather than promote cooperation and seek joint solutions to the community’s problems. The Liberals added that
In spring 2018 we will have a chance to decide if we want to belong to Europe or Moscow.
Gábor Vona, leader of the far-right Jobbik Party, claimed that Orbán had proved once again that the only thing the PM is good at is conjuring up images of enemies, rather than concentrating on providing decent wages and pensions, or modern healthcare and education systems, for the public.
According to Vona,
Hungarians are fed up with incessant warfare, the arrogance of power-holders and corruption.
Orbán “is fighting with his own demons” and worried about maintain his power grip on power, rather than working for the good of the country, Vona said. The far-right leader also added that instead of following “Orbán’s obsessions”, Hungary should “step on the road of sober mind”.