“We [Europeans] intervened in three countries [recently], Iraq, Syria and Libya. All three fell apart. […] This insanity, called a democracy export, according to which we try to make people of other cultures happy by using definitions of European culture, has failed. Democracy cannot be exported,” remarked Prime Minister Orbán. Instead, Europe should be concentrating on its own interests, which is a stable neighborhood. Orbán reminded listeners that after Syria, a country of 30 million people, was destabilized, Europe has seen a migrant wave that it is still struggling to handle. “Egypt is a country of 90 million,” so a stable Egypt serves the “interests of Hungary and the European Union as well.”
Orbán also stressed the importance of stability in Libya. Europe has two possibilities: one is “complete support for the Libyan government,” which should include allowing them to re-arm Libya’s soldiers, otherwise “there will be no one there to keep order.” Europe cannot remain half-hearted on supporting the Libyan government. “Or,” he said, “we must get international approval and go ashore,” meaning refugee camps being set up and European forces providing security there. There is no other solution, and Europe has to decide which one is best.
“That different cultures exist on Earth is no reason for them to clash. We may live in peace alongside the Muslim word. Not mixed with it, but next to it. This is a Christian standpoint that Muslims are happy to accept,” observed Orbán after his reception by Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, whom Orbán referred to as the “Pope of the Sunni World.” Orbán said this does not mean we want to assume their rules, but “we respect theirs and expect them to respect ours.”
A good Christian, according to Orbán, “cannot be anti-Muslim,” as Muslim culture and religion must be respected. However, the scenes at Europe’s borders and the recipient camps project a message that those arriving do not respect our culture. The migrant wave, where “men destroy fences and one told a woman in Bicske [ the Hungarian town where there is a recipient camp] that she should be happy that he’s not raping her, is not part of Muslim culture.”
Orbán also met with Coptic Christians, some of whose relatives were executed in Libya for their religious beliefs. These people must be helped and Hungary is extending helping to them at home and where they live. “We have our moral responsibilities and we do what we can,” he said, but the prime minister himself is not advertising these efforts as he believes such behavior to be disingenuous.
In today’s Europe, a storm is about to hit. That is, according to PM Orbán, partially because of the upcoming Brexit referendum, about which leaders are holding their breath. It is in Hungary’s interest that Great Britain stays in the EU, and Hungary “is proud to be in the same alliance as the Brits.”
But that’s not the main cause for the tension.
The real force behind the growing tension in Europe is that, on certain issues, like migration, European leaders are ignoring the will of their own people. “What Europe is doing today, their own people disapprove of it. It will become a problem,” Orbán said, adding that, “I have never seen a single case where it is the people who change eventually their standpoints.”