Dec 24, 2018 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán in interview with Austrian paper: Once again we are the bad guys, the bad guys of world politics

Recently, Prime Minister Orbán sat for an exclusive interview that was published December 23rd in the Austrian paper Österreich and the online portal The interviewer, Dóra Varró, covered a range of topics from migration to the coming European Parliamentary elections. Here are some highlights.

Dóra Varró: On the issue of migration, two fronts are forming: Merkel-Macron, on the one hand, and the Austrian and Hungarian governments on the other. Is this statement correct?

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán: The Austrian and the Hungarian positions are similar: we should deliver help to Africa and not bring the problems to Europe. Some people say that the solution is to bring migrants to Europe because they think it will be good for their country. The Hungarian position is that we don’t want this. There is an ideological difference. This isn’t a solution for Africa, nor for Europe. In this case, our culture, which we have been cultivating in Europe for two thousand years, would be destroyed. We say that we want to help the Africans like the Austrians. We are happy to support Africa's development in order to have an acceptable life in Africa for their own people. For example, Hungary will provide 900 scholarships to African students from state funds. 

DV: Austria, like Hungary, left the [UN] migration negotiations…

PM Orbán: Some international documents reach decision-makers shortly before signing. When I heard that the US left the negotiations, I consulted about it and noticed that there might be big problems with this convention because national security could be affected. Then I discussed with our government and we decided to leave immediately. A number of countries then opted out, including Austria. We're the bad guys again, the bad guys of world politics.

DV: Your Soros campaign in Hungary is often criticized. Even the accusation of anti-Semitism is sometimes heard.

PM Orbán: In our view, George Soros is a talented Hungarian compatriot. He and I don’t have a good opinion about each other (laughs), but we belong to the same nation and we Hungarians don’t discriminate against anyone because of their religion. Hungary is a free country. By the way, unlike in other Western European capitals, every Jewish person in Budapest is completely safe walking on the street wearing his kippah. Opinion can be freely expressed; the government can be criticized and even demonstrated against. Soros has a large network. He finances many NGOs. The European Union is also funding several Soros organizations. These NGOs are active in political life, and that's fine. However, politically speaking, Soros, as well as everyone who lives in Hungary, must understand two things. First of all, we want transparency. Like all countries, we want to know who these people are, and where the money comes from. Secondly, there is a limit when it comes to national security. Migration is an issue of national security. We had peaceful discussions with Soros until their organizations began to finance migrants and encouraged them to cross the Hungarian border illegally. This is unacceptable in Hungary. We have created laws that make such behavior a threat to our national security. In our conflict, he wants to bring migrants to Hungary and Europe, and I won’t let him do that.

DV: Now the CEU is coming to Vienna. What do you think about that?

PM Orbán: Politics and science must be separated. We didn't send away or persecute CEU. The only thing that the CEU has to do is comply with the statutory provisions, in the same way that all other universities in Hungary do. By the way, I am surprised that the international press says the CEU is leaving Hungary. Apparently, they don’t know Soros well. He never leaves a country. He stays. Everywhere. You will see that education at his university in Budapest will continue and degrees will be awarded. I know Soros. He’s not the kind of person who just leaves Budapest.

DV: EP elections are coming in 2019. You claim they will be decisive. Why?

PM Orbán: An old dream of the EU is coming true. For thirty years, I have been hearing that there is no common European topic. Now there is a topic: migration. From Lisbon to Vilnius and Budapest, migration will be the central issue in the election campaign. For the first time, European nations will vote together on a common theme.

DV: What do you think will be the result of the European elections?

PM Orbán: There are countries that believe that if you mix two cultures, a Christian and a Muslim, something new and good would be created. We see it differently. If they want to mix with other cultures, they have the right to this experiment. However, in Hungary we don’t want to undertake any such experiment. We do not want to mix our culture, our values and our concept of life, which is founded in Christianity, with other cultures. We are afraid that this won’t make us greater, but lesser, and not better, but worse. Therefore, I hope that the voice of the people who want to preserve and protect their national identity as well as their Christian traditions will be stronger than ever.

Read the full interview in German here.