News & Analysis

Viktor Orbán calls for new, anti-migrant ‘European spring’

Migration and the upcoming European elections were the main topics of the first press conference of 2019 held by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

“Hungary’s goal is to have an anti-immigration force in all institutions within the EU: in the European Parliament, then in the European Commission and then in the European Council as a result of national parliamentary elections,” the prime minister told reporters. “If the opposition makes a move, it would dig its own grave.”

Mr Orbán added that the debate on immigration also reinterprets a dispute over sovereignty, as pro immigrant-parties do not respect the decision of those who do not want to receive migrants.

“Migration is going to fundamentally change European politics. Its main divisive line will no longer run between the left and the right but between pro- and anti-immigration powers, and all liberal democracies are pro-immigration.” Mr Orbán said.

He warned that migration has the power to disintegrate Europe, as it will create two kinds of civilisations: there will be a mixed civilisation of Christians and Muslims, and there will be a Christian civilisation in Central Europe. According to Mr Orbán, Europe should belong to Europeans.

Mr Orbán went on to call for a new European spring, an alliance with Italy and Poland, calling Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini his personal hero and “the first European to stop migration coming from the sea.”

He then pointed out Hungary’s economy is improving. According to a report issued by the Minister of Finance Mihály Varga, Hungary’s 2018 GDP growth was 4.6 per cent, the debt-to-GDP ratio was reduced to 71 per cent and consumption grew by six per cent.

“Hungary is doing better,” Mr Orbán said.

But despite the encouraging numbers, protests against changes to labour law continue, despite the Hungarian President János Áder approving and and signing the controversial Overtime Act.

“This measure offers freedom to employees,” the prime minister explained. “It was written to help small and medium-sized enterprises which are desperately looking for loopholes to make their employees working overtime.”