Szijjártó on CNN: Third Two-Thirds Win Proves Democracy, Not Dictatorship
Last week, Christiane Amanpour, one of the most well-known faces of CNN, uploaded a 4-minute long video to her official Facebook page from her interview with Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In the video, she tries to find an answer to what exactly Prime Minister Viktor Orbán means when he says he’s trying to preserve a “Christian Hungary.” Now, CNN has released the entire interview in which Amanpour speaks to Szijjártó with the aim of finding out more about the Hungarian government’s affinity for the Trump administration and vice versa.
The main points of the interview are in the four-minute segment released last week, including Amanpour asking the foreign minister whether the government was insinuating that anyone “other than white Christians” would not be accepted in the country. Szijjártó said, “We have been a Christian country for a Millennium and we don’t want to change that,” adding that Hungary accepts everyone else’s opinion and only expects other countries to respect theirs as well:
Let’s leave it to us to make a decision, whether we think multiculturalism is more valuable than a homogeneous society.
As for the Hungarian government’s affinity for the Trump administration, the foreign minister said that as foreign citizens it doesn’t really matter what Hungarians think of the Trump government, but he can say that the relationship is better now than it was with the Democrat administration.
He also talked about Hungary’s first-hand experience with migration problems. Amanpour reflected on the foreign minister’s previous statement that “Hungary will never be a country of migrants,” as well as what Viktor Orbán said which garnered negative reactions in Europe: “We don’t see these people as Muslim refugees. We see them as Muslim invaders.” Later in the interview, Szijjártó corrected “invaders” to “illegal migrants.” Amanpour, however, pointed out that the country doesn’t have an actual immigration or asylum problem with only 4000 migrants for 10 million people. Szijjártó said that Hungary still complies with its obligations as part of the Schengen zone and spent a huge amount of money on this.
Amanpour also touched upon the topic of the Sargentini report, saying the European Union thinks Hungary is in violation of its rules and, as a result, is currently proceeding with Article 7. Szijjártó said:
I read that report. It has 69 points, putting allegations on Hungary. Out of which, 13 points are agreed upon by the European Commission and the Hungarian Government (…), 19 are under discussion, and 37 are just lies.
Szijjártó also discussed the so-called “Stop Soros” package, saying that most people who criticize the Hungarian government for passing legislation like this are not even aware of its meaning, as the law only criminalizes those who promote the illegal violation of Hungary’s borders.
Regarding antisemitism in Hungary, the foreign minister asserted that Hungary is proud of their track record as they have the biggest Jewish community in central Europe. However, when Amanpour pointed out the “government’s attack on George Soros” utilized antisemitic terminology, Szijjártó rejected it, claiming that they have a serious debate with Soros but “[that] debate has nothing to do with his religion.”
Speaking on the rise of illiberal democracy and that it’s especially and proudly presented in Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Szijjártó claimed:
Many ministers in the European Union, institutions, said that the Hungarian people are not smart enough to make a decision about their own future. That is what we call illiberal. Because immediately after it’s not the mainstream liberals to win, it’s considered as not a democracy.
When Amanpour asked about Hungary’s way to totalitarianism, Szijjártó told her that Hungary is clearly progressing, stable and has a majority in the parliament with a strong leader. When asked about the third landslide victory this past April, Szijjártó declared that a third consecutive term and a two-thirds majority are not the signs of a dictatorship – but on the contrary – show a democratic system where people chose.