Hungary’s Prime Minister has claimed that ‘Christianity is Europe’s last hope’ after accusing politicians in Brussels, Berlin and Paris of causing the ‘decline of Christian culture and the advance of Islam’.
During his annual state of the nation speech, Viktor Orban said his government will oppose efforts by the United Nations or the European Union to ‘increase migration’ around the world.
In a passionate speech, he claimed that Islam would soon ‘knock on Central Europe’s door’ from both the west and the south.
During his annual state of the nation speech, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban said that ‘Christianity is Europe’s last hope’
Orban, who is seeking a third consecutive term in April’s elections, called for a global alliance against migration.
In his speech, he insisted that Western Europe is being overtaken by Muslims, before claiming that ‘born Germans are being forced back from most large German cities, as migrants always occupy big cities first.’
He made the claims as his right-wing populist Fidesz party began campaigning for an April 8 election in which it is expected to win a third consecutive landslide victory.
He is popular in Hungary but is increasingly at odds with mainstream European Union politicians.
Orban has seemingly thrived on controversy, including repeated clashes with Brussels.
Those conflicts are mostly centred on migration, since people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa flooded into Europe in 2015.
They have recently intensified as the elections approach, with Orban posting himself as a saviour of Europe’s Christian nations.
The Hungarian PM, who is seeking a third consecutive term, also called on a global alliance against migration
Orban told an audience at the Royal Castle in Budapest: ‘Christianity is Europe’s last hope. Our worst nightmares can come true. The West falls as it fails to see Europe being overrun.’
Domestically, Orban is widely credited for reversing an economic slump in Hungary and controlling its public finances, culminating in a return to investment-grade for its debt, which was cut to ‘junk’ during the 2008 global economic crisis.
To achieve that and hold onto power the prime minister, 54, has used methods that critics have called authoritarian, and picked fights with EU partners, especially in the West.
Eastern leaders, most notably in Poland, have followed his lead.
But migration is now the dominant theme of his agenda.
Orban said on Sunday that Europe faces a divide between nations of the East and the West, which he called an ‘immigrant zone, a mixed population world that heads in a direction different from ours’.
He went on to claim that the West wants eastern Europe to follow its lead, which could trigger an increasingly vicious struggle.
‘Absurd as it may sound the danger we face comes from the West, from politicians in Brussels, Berlin and Paris,’ Orban said to loud applause. ‘Of course we will fight, and use ever stronger legal tools. The first is our ‘Stop Soros’ law.’
The politician also targeted long-time critic George Soros and claimed that supporters of more migration are losing the fight
Orban has for years targeted Hungarian-born U.S. financier George Soros, whose philanthropy aims to bolster liberal and open-border values.
The Hungarian leader has advocated ‘ethnic homogeneity’ and compared Soros, a Jew, to a puppet master unleashing immigration onto Europe to undermine its cultural and economic integrity.
At the peak of the migrant crisis, he ordered a double razor wire fence to be built to keep people out of Hungary.
Orban also said the Hungarian opposition had failed to heed the call of history when it opposed his toughness on migrants.
Voters have responded favourably and Orban is a clear leader of all polls.
Orban has conflated the issue of immigration with the image of Soros, 87, whose name was used in a tough anti-migrant bill sent to Parliament on Wednesday.
Soros, for his part, compared Orban unfavourably to both the Nazis and the Communists, saying his rule evoked dark tones from the 1930’s, when Hungary was allied with Nazi Germany.
But Orban remains committed to his policy, claiming that Soros and supporters of migration are losing the fight.
He said: ‘Soros has antagonised not only us but also England, President Trump and Israel too. Everywhere he wants to get migration accepted. It won’t work. We are not alone and we will fight together and we will succeed.’
In Europe, he cited Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland as allies.
He said a victory for Silvio Berlusconi’s party in Italy’s March 4 election would strengthen the nationalist fold.
‘We don’t think the fight is hopeless, on the contrary, we are winning,’ Orban said. ‘The V4 is firm, Croatia has come around, Austria has turned in the patriotic direction, and in Bavaria the CSU has created a resistance.’