Viktor Orbán arouses outrage by attacking “racial mixing” in Europe | Hungary

Hungary’s far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orbán lashed out at the “mixing” of European and non-European races, in a speech that immediately drew outrage from opposition parties and European politicians.

“We [Hungarians] we are not a mixed race … and we do not want to become a mixed race,” Orbán said on Saturday. He added that countries where Europeans and non-Europeans mingle are “no longer nations”.

Orbán has been making similar statements for years, but those comments were framed in far-right terms.

Katalin Cseh, an MEP from the opposition Momentum party, said she was appalled by the prime minister’s speech. “His statements are reminiscent of a time that I think we would all like to forget. They really show the true colors of the regime,” she said.

On Twitter, Cseh address mixed-race people in Hungary: “Your skin color may be different, you may be from Europe or elsewhere, but you are one of us and we are proud of you. Diversity strengthens the nation, it does not weaken it.

Romanian MEP Alin Mituța also responded angrily to Orbán’s comments. “Talking about racial or ethnic ‘purity’, especially in a region as mixed as Central and Eastern Europe, is purely illusory and dangerous. And Mr. Orban too, ”he said. wrote on Twitter.

Orbán made the remarks during a landmark annual speech in Băile Tuşnad, Romania, where he previously launched major political ideas or ideological orientations. It was there, in 2014, when he first said he wanted to build an “illiberal democracy” in Hungary.

This year, Orbán gave an apocalyptic speech predicting the decline of the West and prophesying “a decade of peril, uncertainty and war”.

He also strongly criticized Western military support for Ukraine, positioning himself as Moscow’s main ally within the European Union.

“The more NATO gives the Ukrainians modern weapons, the more the Russians will push the front line forward… What we are doing is prolonging the war,” Orbán said in a speech on Saturday.

Hungary is a member of NATO, but Orbán has long had a warm relationship with Putin and spent five hours in Moscow speaking to the Russian leader in February, shortly before the Russian invasion. The speech came two days after his foreign minister made a surprise trip to Moscow for talks, and puts him far from the European consensus on the war.

Orbán said the job of the West should not be to hope for a Ukrainian victory but to negotiate a peace agreement. “We shouldn’t be on Russia’s side, or on Ukraine’s side, but in between,” he said, adding that the policy of imposing sanctions on Russia hasn’t worked. .

Oleg Nikolenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s foreign ministry, called Orbán’s claims “Russian propaganda”.

Orbán won a fourth consecutive term in an election earlier this year, his government being accused of stifling media freedom and rolling back democratic standards since his Fidesz party took power in 2010. Since the 2015 refugee crisis, Orbán’s government used far-right anti-migration rhetoric as its main talking point.

On Saturday, he made frequent nods to the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, which claims there is a conspiracy to dilute the white populations of the United States and European countries through immigration. He said it was “an ideological trick from the internationalist left to say that the European population is already mixed race”.

He singled out demography, migration and gender as key battlegrounds for the future, on the same day that thousands gathered in Budapest for the city’s annual Pride march.

Budapest Pride Parade. Photograph: Ferenc Isza/AFP/Getty Images

The European Commission is currently suing Hungary over a recent anti-LGBTQ+ law, a copy of Russia’s “gay propaganda” law. It prohibits homosexuals from appearing in school teaching materials or television programs aimed at minors.

Orbán’s stance on Ukraine has cost him the support of some of his former ideological allies, including Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, which has criticized his equivocal stance on the war.

“He is further removed from the European mainstream than ever before,” said Péter Krekó, of the Budapest think tank Political Capital. “I think he really believes that the migratory pressures will mean that the united West will soon be over and every government will become far-right… It’s also clear that he wants Russia to win this war.”

Orbán hopes the Italian elections in September will return a right-wing coalition and also wants Donald Trump to return in 2024. Next month he is due to travel to Dallas, Texas, where he will address CPAC, a large gathering of American conservatives. Earlier this year, CPAC hosted a special session of the conference in Budapest.

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At home, Orbán’s battle with European institutions looks likely to escalate further. The EU has frozen billions of euros in stimulus funds earmarked for Hungary over corruption and rule of law concerns. Orbán’s harsh speech may be a sign that the Hungarian government has given up on receiving the funds.

“He knows exactly what reaction there would be to that speech, and I think he’s preparing for a lack of compromise,” Krekó said. “He wants to fight the token fight instead of talking about the austerity measures they will have to introduce.”