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May 07, 2019

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s press statement after talks with Heinz-Christian Strache, Vice-Chancellor of the Republic of Austria

6 May 2019, Budapest

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, Honourable Vice-Chancellor, 

We’ve just been engaged in friendly talks touching on issues involved in bilateral relations, which we’ve judged to be well-ordered and successful. We noted the high importance of economic cooperation, which we would both like to develop further. One of Hungary’s goals is to maintain our economic growth at a level of at least 2 per cent above the European average; and while our Austrian friends did not quote such a specific figure, I can see that their growth will also exceed the European Union average. So we envisage two economically successful countries cooperating with each other in the years to come. The issues of European security and border protection were also seen to be important. I sought to make it clear that on its southern border Hungary is also defending the borders of Austria. We therefore thank Austria for the assistance it is providing to Hungary in joint border defence activities.

While our talks mostly focused on the future, I mentioned that in the past this has not always been the case. When there was a left-wing government in Austria, they did everything they could to prevent Hungary from building a fence on its southern borders. Now that Austria has a government of the Right, however, this has changed. Vice-Chancellor Strache and his party – the FPÖ – have been essential in changing Austria’s position to one that is anti-immigration, and in its present positive attitude towards Hungary’s border defence measures.

We spoke about European issues. We would both like to see changes in Europe. Naturally I don’t want to embarrass our guest, but nonetheless I must cite Austria as an example.We would like changes in Europe which are similar to those which have happened in Austria. If in Austria it’s possible for centre-right parties – for a centre-right governing party – to cooperate with a patriotic right-wing party, then why couldn’t this also happen at a European level? This is our view, and we would like such changes to occur. As we see it, the European Left is hopelessly pro-immigration – openly and clearly; and if centre-right parties cooperate with the openly pro-immigration Left, then sooner or later they will have to make compromises. Therefore, instead of a grand European coalition, we would also like to maintain the possibility of opening towards the Right; what works in Vienna could also work in Brussels.

I told Vice-Chancellor Strache that we would like the interior ministers of European countries – of the Schengen Area countries – to take over powers on the issue of border defence. In this area Brussels has failed, and we have more faith in a council of the interior ministers of Member States. We also agreed that in our countries Christian culture must be given precedence. Respect for women, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and equal suffrage can only be sustained in the Christian cultural environment, and therefore that is what we must give precedence to.

We spoke about issues regarding the protection of families. I thank the President for his appreciation of the measures contained in Hungary’s family protection action plan.

And finally we also spoke about the European Left’s declaration of socialism in economic issues, which entails tax increases, over-regulation, bureaucracy and high levels of debt. If we move the European economy in that direction, what happened in our country will also happen at a European level. Hungary lived in the socialist economic system once: it didn’t work, and we don’t want Brussels to experiment with it either.

In summary, Ladies and Gentlemen, I can say that on all strategic issues there was agreement between the delegation of the President of the FPÖ – the Vice-Chancellor – and that of the Hungarian government.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to engage in talks. Thank you very much for the opportunity of continuing to work together on strategic issues in the future.