Hungary’s April 8 general election will bear significance beyond the country, opposition Socialist-Párbeszéd prime ministerial candidate Gergely Karácsony and Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPO) head Christian Kern said at a joint press conference after talks in Vienna.
The outcome of the Hungarian election could also influence the future of Europe, Karácsony said during the press conference broadcast on SPO’s Facebook page.
“Orbánism is an illness in Europe” which is infecting an increasing number of member states and already shows signs in Austria, Karácsony said.
As the process is damaging for the whole of Europe, there is a pressing need for good relations between the left-wing parties of Hungary and Austria, he added.
Karácsony said the Orbán government’s policy for Europe involved “stealing EU moneys and then using some of the stolen money to incite hatred in Hungarians against the EU”. “They present the EU and Brussels as if they were enemies of Hungary,” he added.
Hungarians always wanted to belong to Europe, so ruling Fidesz’s campaign involving threats that Budapest will look like Vienna if migrants are allowed to settle will actually work in favour of the Socialists-Párbeszéd alliance, he said.
In response to a question concerning possible cooperation with radical nationalist Jobbik, Karcsony said “the enemy of my enemy does not automatically become my friend” and this applies to the relations between Hungary’s left and Jobbik.
He compared the election campaign to the battle of David with the Goliath where the latter is represented by Fidesz, having all the resources, but David is represented by the Socialists-Párbeszéd which “has justice on its side and will eventually win the battle”.
Kern, a former Austrian chancellor, said he was in agreement with Karácsony that democracy, European solidarity and constitutionality are undisputable virtues.
He said Hungary is one of Austria’s most important partners and it causes some concern that Hungary has become “massively anti-European” during Orbán’s governance.
Referring to Karácsony and Socialist Party leader Gyula Molnár, he expressed trust that there would be an alternative model standing against Orbán’s illiberal democracy.
In response to a question concerning possible links between crime statistics and the migrant policy of Austria’s former government and border protection measures, Kern said crime statistics improved significantly in Austria in recent years. There are integration problems connected to migrants and criminal acts but problems must be addressed by organising integration, he added.
Featured image: www.facebook.com/KarácsonyGergely