Prime minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán has given a speech in front of students in Romania on July 22, 2017. In this speech, he preaches the importance of single states, and the fact, that Hungary needs to work for a stronger militarism. He also wants to have only Christian values in an only Christian Europe, and stands on his opinion about immigration.
“Our freedom, our civilization and our survival depend on these bonds of history, culture, and memory.” This quote from a speech by U.S. President Donald Trump held during one of his first international trips in Warsaw already gives an impression of Orbán’s quite isolationist plans. He defines that, in a changing political world with transnational, global elites on the one side, and patriotic national leaders on the other, Hungary positions itself on the right side, the patriotic side. Since 2010, when Orbán was elected for prime minister, Hungary has gained its financial independence. According to him, a country is only then strong, when its finances are in order, the economy is solid, and there are enough jobs provided. Because of all these points, he sees Hungary as a stronger state now, than it was before his time in office.
Already in the beginning, the prime minister of Hungary begins to use typical populist phrases with talking about the concept of cultural identity, without which “there is no strong culture” and “there is no cultural identity in a population without a stable ethnic composition”. He provokes with questions, if Europe and the single countries will still belong to the Europeans, and if the “traditional indigenous Christians” will be replaced by arriving Muslims. He quotes a survey (without naming it), according to which 64 percent of Europeans believe that immigration leads to more crime, and 51 percent expect each country to act more independent from Brussels. Almost two thirds of Hungarians want the EU to have less power in national matters. In Orbán’s opinion, the integration of Muslim people cannot be possible, since “opposing ideologies and values cannot be simultaneously upheld”. This is a daring thesis, when latest statistics projected a percentage of 6.8 percent of Muslim people in Europe for 2020 (statista.com). He creates an image of a threat, that at the moment is not taking place, despite the immigration. The racism in those words is subliminal but evident, when he later in his speech creates an in-group of “We as Hungary and/or Europe” against the Islam.
Matching to his call for caution of immigration, he also warns Europe of “misusing solidarity”. According to Orbán, solidarity is a means to and end of peace, security, freedom and prosperity for Europe, but not an end itself. Therefore “we must not show solidarity with groups and ideologies which oppose to the aims of European existence and culture”. He creates a hypothetical danger of Christians being suppressed by the Islam. He does not differ between a major peaceful Islam community and Islam terrorist groups, which he has to mean when referring to “groups and ideologies”. Again, he creates two groups, where one belongs to Europe, and the other one does not.
When he speaks about European solidarity, he also demands more support from the EU, with Germany in particular. Orbán says they need to repay Hungary for the 250 billion Hungarian Forint (approximately 820 million €), for “defending Europe”. He is pointing at the fact, that with building fences and walls at their border, Hungary has made a huge contribution to keep refugees from entering the European Union. In theory he is right, but again he just uses the argument “European Union” as he needs to have it. He does not want to contribute to a cooperating EU, but demands that they will pay him back.
But what is even worse than the hypocritical call for solidarity, is the fact that Orbán abuses European values, such as liberty, equality, and solidarity for his own purposes. Those values would forbid him to make assumptions and accusations. He uses those values to legitimize his policies, even though his actions do not represent European virtues, like his constant call for a weaker European government, and therefore stronger states. He continues to create a separation between Hungary and the European Union (“the transnational elite”). He also clearly positions himself against the opposition in the Hungarian Parliament, that stands for a mixed European population, and also a stronger European Federalism. Instead of the opposition’s opinions, he preaches for stronger and more independent states, and not giving the EU (or “Brussels bureaucrats” as he refers to them) more power.
And then there are his accusations of George Soros. Soros is a Jewish Hungarian investor, who Orbán blames for being responsible for the immigration. According to the “Soros plan”, hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of migrants from Muslim countries should be brought into European territory. Every one of those should be given about 1600€, and a European immigration agency will regulate this procedure, of course by taking sovereignty from each country. He picks up a conspiracy theory with a severe anti-Semitic tendency, were de-Christianization by George Soros should lead to an “Islamized Europe”. This adds to the anti-Semitic billboards in Hungary, where Soros is portrayed maliciously grinning next to two sentences: “99% percent are against immigration. Let’s not let Soros have the last laugh”. Orbán also blames Brussels for letting act Soros in this matter, he says that with Soros, there is no survival of Europe. And again he builds a group of “Us Hungarians” against “Soros’ mafia network”, as he titles it.
His solution to all those problems, is to strengthen the Hungarian Army, in order to keep his country strong. Hungary even launched new armed forces development programs and they are building armor factories. In the speech, the Hungarian Prime minister clearly shows, that his points of view clearly differ from a European point of view. The worrying part is, that he sells his isolationist, nationalist, and even racist opinions as values of a Christian Europe. And it has to be prevented, that Europe will develop in that direction.