PM Orbán with Vice Chancellor Strache: What works in Vienna could also work in Brussels

In a joint press conference with Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that he’d like to see the same changes in Europe that have occurred in Austria, where the government of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his ruling Austrian People’s Party thrive in cooperation with the patriotic Freedom Party.

The “Austrian model” should be adopted on a European level, said Prime Minister Orbán, reiterating the message that dominated his interview in this morning’s Kleine Zeitung. “What works in Vienna could also work in Brussels,” he said during the joint press conference with Freedom Party Chairman Strache this afternoon in Budapest. 

“I would like to thank Austria for supporting Hungary [in its border protection endeavors],” the prime minister said, reminding that “this hasn’t always been the case.” A few years ago, the Socialist-led government of Austria did everything it could to stand in the way of Hungary building a fence on the border.

“We needed Vice Chancellor Strache and his FPÖ party to turn Austria’s stance into one that opposes immigration and build sympathy towards Hungarian border protection efforts,” Orbán added. 

“I would like to make it clear that by defending the southern border, Hungary also protects Austria’s borders,” PM Orbán said.

Responding to a question, Prime Minister Orbán said that he follows the Spitzenkandidat campaigns of the European Parliamentary elections, but they have merely convinced him that none of the candidates are fit to lead the European Commission.

“The candidacy of Group Leader Weber would have been fine with us, but he announced that it’s not simply that he doesn’t need Hungarians’ votes,” the prime minister and Fidesz party president said, “he doesn’t even want to become European Commission President with them.”

“If someone offends a country like this,” PM Orbán specified, “then the prime minister of that country can’t support the candidacy of such a man.” 

“At least finally we have something that we can agree on with Mr. Weber: it wouldn’t be right for him to become Commission President with the votes of Hungarian people,” the PM said in closing.