PM Orbán Discusses Hungarian-German Ties, Migration, EP Campaign In Welt Am Sonntag

  • 4 Mar 2019 7:43 AM
  • Hungary Matters
PM Orbán Discusses Hungarian-German Ties, Migration, EP Campaign In Welt Am Sonntag
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has addressed Hungarian-German relations and his government’s European Parliament election campaign focusing on migration in an interview to Welt am Sonntag.

Orbán said the blot on otherwise “excellent” Hungarian-German relations was due to differences in their respective approaches to the issue of migration.

“We insist on the right of nations to defend themselves, whereas Germany has a different philosophy,” he told the conservative paper.

The European Commission should be stripped of migration as a policy area, the prime minister said. Instead, a new professional body under the authority of Schengen-zone interior ministers should take over that responsibility, he added.

Meanwhile, commenting on the government’s current billboard campaign depicting European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and related criticism by the European People’s Party, Orbán said its northern members were closer to French President Emmanuel Macron than to the German Christian Democratic Union.

“Sadly, [the issue of] migration has sharpened differences here, too”. Orbán insisted that the EPP, if it wanted to win in central Europe, must declare that “Juncker is the past” and Manfred Weber, the EPP’s spitzenkandidat, “the future”.

The prime minister characterised Juncker as a “nice man” for whom he harboured no animosity, but “any attempt” to exclude Fidesz from EPP was his “personal disloyalty”, and “no one can expect us to accept this disloyalty, even if it is the disloyalty of a kind man”.

Orbán also dismissed the suggestion that the government’s poster campaign was anti-Semitic, saying: “This seems like a German problem”. Orbán said a new phase of the government’s billboard campaign would concentrate on First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, who is also the spitzenkandidat of the European Socialists.

Orbán insisted that the attack against the government’s billboard campaign had been launched by Europe’s left wing. “The left wing always chooses someone as a target,” Orbán said, adding that its aim was to weaken the European People’s Party, of which Fidesz is a member, with a view to assuming power in Europe, which he characterised as a “power struggle” rather than an ideological one.

“Not everyone understands this, but in the political literature, Lenin refers to ‘useful idiots’ who, while believing they are fighting an intellectual struggle, are actually serving the power interests of others and even opponents,” Orbán said.

Asked whether this was true of some EPP members, he said: “They see division as good instead of unity and the unifying of forces.”


MTI Photo: Szecsődi Balázs

  • How does this content make you feel?

XpatLoop Media Partner

Hungary Matters

Launched in January 2014, this twice-daily newsletter covers 'everything you need to know about what’s going on in Hungary and beyond', according to its publisher the state media agency MTI. Click the title above for more info, and to subscribe.

Explore More Reports

  • PM Orbán Expresses Sympathies Over Notre Dame Fire

    PM Orbán Expresses Sympathies Over Notre Dame Fire

    • 17 Apr 2019 5:42 AM

    Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has sent a message of condolences to French President Emmanuel Macron and Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, president of the French bishops’ conference, over the fire that devastated the Notre Dame cathedral (Photo courtesy of Northfoto) in Paris on Monday.

  • Hungarian Cabinet Facing Clash With Facebook

    Hungarian Cabinet Facing Clash With Facebook

    • 13 Apr 2019 7:09 AM

    The Orbán cabinet is preparing to regulate Facebook, as the social media network may wish to vet pro-government advertisements in the EU election campaign, according to HVG.

  • Hungarian Opinion: PM Orbán Opens Fidesz EP Campaign

    Hungarian Opinion: PM Orbán Opens Fidesz EP Campaign

    • 8 Apr 2019 8:30 AM

    Pro-government columnists agree with Viktor Orbán that the European Parliamentary election will decide whether or not ‘Europe will remain Christian’, and whether nation states can preserve their sovereignty. A left-wing commentator calls for more integration so that the EU can compete with the US and China.