Orban rails against 'undemocratic' Western Europe

AFP , Saturday 28 Jul 2018

File photo: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on a visit to Germany's Bundestag (lower house of parliament) in Berlin, July 4, 2018. (Reuters photo)

Hungary's right-wing nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban railed against what he called "undemocratic" Western European states in a speech on Saturday sketching out his vision for the continent's future.

"There is liberalism in the West, there is no democracy," Orban said, speaking to a gathering of ethnic Hungarians in neighbouring Romania.

He claimed that in Western European countries, "restrictions on freedom of expression and censorship have become common place."

Orban also sharpened his criticisms of Brussels institutions, branding the European Commission a "symbol of failure."

"The European Commission is going, we are coming," he said.

In the latest of a series of disputes with Hungary over its migration policy and rule of law, last week the Commission referred Hungary to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over controversial laws penalising aid to migrants.

The Commission has also referred Hungary to the ECJ for failing to resolve complaints made in December 2015 that it held asylum seekers for too long in transit centres and did not treat them properly.

Orban also used the speech to outline his own definition of "Christian democracy".

"If you like, it's illiberal," Orban said, emphasising that it was "anti-immigrant, anti-multicultural and stands for the Christian family model".

He said he would make immigration a key theme in next year's European Parliament elections.

"Europe's leaders are inadequate, they are unable to defend Europe from immigration," he went on.

Referring to the ethnically Hungarian area of Romania where he was speaking, Orban said it would "still exist when all of Europe has been invaded by Islam".

In contrast to the criticisms of Western Europe and of immigration, Orban struck a more emollient tone when referring to other states on the EU's borders criticised by Brussels.

He slammed the EU's policy of sanctions against Russia and called the bloc's policy towards Mocow "primitive".

Referring to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose government has been accused of numerous human rights abuses, Orban said: "You can criticise Erdogan's system but good stability in Turkey is good for us."

"Today, the whole safety of the Carpathian Basin and Europe lies on the stability of Turkey, Israel and Egypt, who can stop the influx of Muslims," he said.

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