PM Orbán at Antalya Diplomacy Forum: Migration is bad and we don’t need it

In an on-stage interview at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum this afternoon, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán shared profound insights on various critical issues, ranging from international alliances to migration, and from Hungary's perspective on the Ukraine-Russia conflict to his views on European politics and an upcoming visit to the United States.

PM Orbán began by underscoring the deep-rooted connections between Hungary and Türkiye, noting the historical and political ties that bind the two nations. "First of all, we have a long history of Türkiye and Hungarian relationship. Very, very long," PM Orbán said, highlighting Hungary's unique position as the sole European member of the Turkic Council. This membership signifies Hungary's involvement in Central Asian political affairs, distinguishing its foreign policy approach from that of other European nations.

Prime Minister Orbán praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's leadership, contrasting the positive perception of strong leadership in Hungary with the skepticism it faces in other parts of the West. "In Hungary, strong leadership is still a positive term, unlike in the Western countries. In Europe strong leader means something bad, just a step to Hitler, you know?” he said.

Addressing the topic of migration, PM Orbán described it as "the most important question in Europe at this moment," reflecting on the 2015 crisis when hundreds of thousands of migrants arrived at Hungary's borders. This event, according to him, not only posed logistical and security challenges but also sparked a broader debate on sovereignty and the right of countries to control their own borders. "Can you imagine that you have a 10-million country, and let's say in 2015, just immediately out of the blue, appearing 2-300,000 migrants on the border?" he said, expressing staunch opposition to unchecked migration, and emphasizing the negative impacts it has on society, including public disorder and crime.

“It's not a theoretical issue. Public disorder is not a good thing. Crime is not a good thing. Uncontrolled border is not a good thing. So, I think migration, as it is today, is definitely something which is bad, and we don't need it. We need border control, we need strong states who decide who can step in and who cannot,” the prime minister said.

On the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, PM Orbán stressed the importance of viewing the situation through a Hungarian lens, prioritizing the national interest above all. He said that "the angle how we observe this war is a Hungarian one. So, I don't wear the eyeglass of the Ukrainians, or the eyeglass of Putin. I don't care with that." He also highlighted the significance of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine, pointing out the historical and cultural ties that necessitate a peace-oriented approach. "So, peace means safe Hungarian lives, not just lives generally, which is equally important anyway, but safe Hungarian lives as well,” he said.

Looking towards the future of European politics, PM Orbán anticipated a shift towards more conservative values, foreseeing a stronger representation for right-wing parties in the upcoming European elections. He expressed optimism about this change, hoping it would reflect a move towards conservative approaches: "We don't know exactly how it will look like, but it will be a stronger representation for the right, may I say, for the ECR, for the ID, probably EPP remains strong."

In discussing his upcoming visit to the United States to meet former President Donald Trump, PM Orbán expressed admiration for Trump's unique approach to politics, labeling him as a "maverick" and lamenting the lack of diversity in political leadership worldwide. "I like mavericks. And he's like that. One of the most boring elements of my profession that the leaders are getting more and more boring. So, we need refreshing new guys." PM Orbán spoke about the potential impact of Trump's leadership style on international conflicts, particularly the Ukraine-Russia war, suggesting that Trump's presidency might have prevented the conflict: "I'm also convinced that if, at the time of breaking out of Russian invasion on Ukraine, Trump would have been the President of the United States. There would be no war now."

As Hungary gears up for the rotating EU presidency, PM Orbán outlined his government’s priorities, emphasizing EU enlargement, particularly focusing on the Balkans, and boosting the competitiveness of the European economy. He expressed caution about the political challenges ahead but remained committed to these goals. "First of all, we have to get the job. Not everybody is amazed by that next half a year,” he said jokingly.