Alexandra Béni | Jan 17, 2019 | 1
INTERVIEW – Orbán: Central European leaders will protect their countries
Budapest (MTI) – Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, commenting on the recent meeting of European heads of state and government in Vienna on the subject of migration, said in an interview that central European leaders had formed an alliance to defend their countries and preserve their ways of life. In an interview to public radio on Sunday, Orbán said central European leaders were determined not to fall into the trap of “quite a few other European countries, who may not even recognise themselves in a few years’ time”.
At the same time, he noted progress on the issue of migration. The so-called western Balkan route is now better defended thanks to Europe’s agreement with Turkey and more resolute action by western Balkan countries. He also mentioned Hungary’s “perseverance” on the matter.
But there are still challenges ahead such as the anticipated return of “an influx of migrants” from the Italian route to the western Balkan route in the autumn, he said.
Meanwhile, the prime minister insisted that western Europeans were now speaking their minds on the issue of migration, and it was increasingly difficult for political leaders to ignore them.
“Europeans have raised their voices and many now dare to speak up”, Orbán said.
“After forty years of Communism, we were used to the idea that free speech is only possible to the west of us,” he said, adding that people in the west had got used to trusting their leaders to resolve problems “even if their decisions seemed odd.”
“People are now saying there is trouble and the solutions are no good. The trouble is just growing and it has reached people’s personal lives because public security has deteriorated,” he added.
Western Europeans are now realising that they can dare speak their minds and politicians cannot afford to neglect them, Orban said.
“The elite cannot keep their eyes and ears shut on a matter of basic importance,” he said. “When leaders handle their democratic powers badly, the people tend to take them back,” he added.
Orbán said Europeans were finding it hard to come to terms with Europe’s economic and demographic decline and “disturbances in cohabitation” with migrants.
He insisted that Hungarians, “being central Europeans with vigilant instincts”, had seen trouble ahead, but western Europe had ignored them. “Now it is clear that we were right,” he added.
Orbán said that those who had attacked Hungary in the past year were actually afraid of a “Hungarian way of thinking”. But this way of thinking has been vindicated, he said.
The Hungarian government dared to express its views and “an increasing number of people now realise that they share these views”, he added.
Commenting on the Oct 2 referendum on EU migrant quotas, he said its historic importance was comparable to the popular vote on dual citizenship. He called on Hungarians to vote ‘no’ if they agree that it is “our elected parliament, government and state authority” that decides “with whom we choose to live”.
He said the outcome of the referendum would have legal consequences and would become a part of Hungarian law.
“This will be one of the most important laws .. after the referendum,” he added.