Jul 12, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán: Migration will continue to define future political debates

Migration remains the main question for debate in European politics, said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in his regular, Friday morning radio interview. He also spoke of the Visegrád Group’s increasing influence in Europe and called out the Hungarian opposition for its behavior in the European Parliament.

“There were many mistakes in the past five years, which Brussels let slip. Despite our current success in European politics, we’ll celebrate only when these have been corrected,” Prime Minister Orbán said on Kossuth Rádió’s “Good Morning, Hungary”. “We will only be able to celebrate our success once the problem of terrorism, public security and migration have been resolved,” he added.

“We need a stronger Europe, and this can only happen with the contribution of more powerful nation states,” the prime minister said. Praising the increasing importance of the Visegrád Group in European politics, he said that “the political stability and economic growth of the V4 bloc is evident, and much-applauded. These victories have enabled us to provide an adequate representation for 63 million people, to act in accord with the political will of the population of the bloc. We also rely on Croatians and Romanians in times of difficulty, which has become progressively easier in the past few years.”

On the nomination of German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen to lead the next European Commission, the prime minister said that “we have received a chance for a strong Europe that respects national interests.” The sheer fact that EU heads of state and government have nominated a German woman – a mother of seven – to the EU’s top job, PM Orbán said, is proof that “different winds will be blowing in Brussels.”

Asked about the performance of the Hungarian opposition in the European elections, the prime minister took a more skeptical tone. “So many countries, so many customs,” he said, using a popular saying to highlight the historic differences between the right and the left in our country. “While the right respects nationhood, the left pursues an internationalist agenda. Respect for our country, the representation of national interests, and fighting for our rights is a matter of obligation on the right. On the left, this couldn’t be farther from the case. Differences such as these have been brought to the fore all the more by the European elections,” he said.

“I couldn’t venture as far as to say that we’re fond of our opponents. But we can never hate our enemies more than we love our country. This is how we on the right like to think, but leftists see it otherwise,” Prime Minister Orbán said. It was a pointed remark made in reference to the fact that the Hungarian opposition conspired in the European Parliament against Fidesz candidates, voting against them in the elections to head EP committees. It failed; the Fidesz MEPs were elected anyway. “In Fidesz, we firmly believe that you shouldn’t hurt your enemies at the cost of your country. They disagree. For those who have memories of the communist era, this corrupted line of thinking might ring a bell,” the PM said.

Concerning our future in Europe, PM Orbán emphasized that Hungary is in a fortunate position. Our financial sector is flourishing, the economy has seen a continuous period of steady growth, and our success to pursue well-rounded, cleverly thought-out economic policies has gained recognition at home and abroad. “We don’t need European funding. We are independent. However, funding can accelerate the rate of growth,” the prime minister said.

PM Orbán struck a pessimistic tone on migration, the key question at the heart of European political debates. “The pressure of migration will only grow further in coming decades. The European population has been on the decline, while the opposite is the case in places like Asia or Africa. This situation will necessitate a much stronger border control system. Millions will arrive, and one of our most important tasks will be to defend our people.”

“European politicians want to legalize immigration, thinking that’s the right solution,” Prime Minister Orbán said. “We see it otherwise. The decline of the population should be resolved by a better-directed reproduction policy, which is why we organized a national consultation, where hundreds of thousands had the chance to make their opinions heard. And even then, this puts us in the minority, as we took the chance to listen to the voice of our people. The question remains: how will we implement the allocated budgets? When will European parties realize that pro-migration has more disadvantages than benefits?” the prime minister asked.