Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary, is hitting the campaign trail for this year’s elections. Just in case anyone was expecting him to soften his tone when it comes to resisting the dictates of the European Union, strengthening his nation’s border security and rejecting the idea of forced, mass migration to his country, well… prepare to be disappointed yet again. In one of his first speeches of the campaign, Orban called on his fellow European leaders to join a global alliance against mass migration, particularly from primarily Muslim nations, claiming that Christianity was humanity’s last, shining hope. (Yahoo News)
Hungarian leader Viktor Orban called on Sunday for a global alliance against migration 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.
Popular at home but increasingly at odds politically and economically with mainstream European Union peers, Orban has thrived on external controversy, including repeated clashes with Brussels and lately the United Nations.
Those conflicts, mostly centered on migration since people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa flooded into Europe in 2015, have intensified as the elections approach and Orban poses as a savior of Europe’s Christian nations.
“Christianity is Europe’s last hope,” Orban told an audience of party faithful at the foot of the Royal Castle in Budapest. With mass immigration, especially from Africa, “our worst nightmares can come true. The West falls as it fails to see Europe being overrun.”
Let’s not discount the fact that there’s definitely an element of politics to these announcements. Orban has sailed to a couple of sweeping victories at the polls already and maintains high favorability numbers, largely because of his nationalist bent which focuses on putting the interests of his nation first. During the height of the fiscal crisis, Hungary’s debt was reduced to junk bond status, but under Orban, they’ve brought their bonds back up to investment grade. And he’s absolutely kept his promises about keeping out a flood of new migrants. All of these actions have found favor with the majority of his citizens.
Keep in mind that this is far from the first time Orban has seemed delighted to go to war with the establishment. (And over there, the “establishment” these days is the European Union.) He’s frequently at odds with the more socialist, liberal leaders across the pond and around the globe. You may recall that he recently pushed forward legislation which would effectively banish George Soros from the entire country, even though the billionaire liberal was born there and retains his citizenship.
In terms of dealing with the largely Muslim migrants and refugees flooding Europe, when the EU told him he needed to begin accepting more incoming immigrants he scoffed at them, saying, “Refugees? They’re Muslim invaders.”
Prior to that, when the EU was drafting quotas for how many migrants each country should take, he built a massive border fence along the entire southern end of Hungary, cutting illegal immigration into his nation by 99%. When the EU leaders in Brussels complained about it, he sent them a bill for half the cost of the barrier. (I’ve found no record that they ever actually paid the tab.)
Orban is almost certain to be elected once again, with his party maintaining control of the government. Whether or not any of his neighbors are moving closer to joining his cause remains to be seen, but quite a few have been making moves in the same direction. And like all good politicians, why would they not? You can criticize his methods all you like, but he’s managing to stay in power and keep his people happy.