One day after Ursula von der Leyen presented the European Commission’s immigration pact, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told Reuters news agency in an interview there that he was s “freedom fighter” for national sovereignty and reiterated his country’s position to reject any plan that would compel member states to accept immigrants.
In Brussels, Orbán and the leaders of the other Vesigrád countries met von der Leyen to discuss the previously mentioned migration pact, referring to which Orbán said that Hungary — while a tolerant society — was against having a mixed population.
“Migration in Hungary is a national security issue,” Orban said. “In Hungary, we are very strict that we would not like to have a parallel society, or open society or a mixed-up culture. We don’t think a mixture of Muslim and Christian society could be a peaceful one and could provide security and good life for the people.”
Orban said that the new EU migration pact in its current form would force Hungary to accept migrants, a position that Hungary, Czechia, and a range of other EU countries find unacceptable.
The Reuters interview also touched on the topic of rule of law.
Just as the European Parliament is set on continuing Article 7 proceedings against Hungary, Orbán said that the accusations against Hungary of disregarding rule of law were “simply blah, blah, blah”.
“When somebody says that democracy can be only liberal it’s an oppression. I have to fight against it in the name of intellectual freedom,” he said. “Sometimes in Brussels I have a feeling that I am still a freedom fighter.”
The 57-year-old Orbán first rose to fame as a politician in the summer of 1989, when at the reburial of Imre Nagy, the prime minister of the failed 1956 anti-Soviet uprising, he demanded the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Hungary. The withdrawal of the altogether 100,000 troops, civilians and family members took exactly two years. At the time, unknown to the public, the Soviets had even stationed nuclear missiles in Hungary.
In the interview, Orbán said that references to the rule of law are a way for frugal northern European states to attempt making the payment of EU funds conditional to political criteria. He also praised praised Brexit as “brave decision”, adding, however, that Hungary did not have any intention of leaving the European Union.
“Brexit is a brave decision of the British people about their own lives…we consider it as evidence of the greatness of the British,” he said.
“We can’t afford to follow that track,” he said. “It’s reasonable for Hungary to be part of the European Union.” He also pointed out that Brexit was partly due to the EU’s insistence on appointing Jean-Claude Junckers as president of the European Commission despite strong British resentment.
I think Brexit was mainly a mistake of the European Union,” Orbán said. “We made mistakes, terrible mistakes”.
Title image: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at a press conference in Brussels on September 25, 2020. (source: Facebook)