Hungary's Orban accuses Brussels of 'Sovietization,' defends nation-state
by Compiled from Wire Services
ISTANBULOct 25, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Compiled from Wire Services
Oct 25, 2016 12:00 am
At a commemoration of a 1956 anti-Communist uprising, Hungary's right-wing leader Viktor Orban said his country must stand up to Europe's "Sovietization" and defend its borders against mass migration.
Orban, a critic of the European Union and an early opponent of the recent migration wave into the continent, said freedom in Europe depended on the nation state and Christian traditions.
"People who love their freedom must save Brussels from Sovietization, from people who want to tell us who we should live within our countries," the prime minister said to cheers from a crowd of several thousand," Hungarian PM said. "We want to be a European nation not a nationality within Europe," he said.
A few hundred opposition protesters whistled loudly as Orban spoke, and brawls broke out in the crowd between his supporters and opponents.
"We cannot create freedom while this despicable leftist opposition exists," said Laszlo Barta, an Orban supporter with a Hungarian flag flung across his shoulders.
Along with other ex-Communist countries in Eastern Europe, Hungary opposes a policy that would require all EU states to take in some of the hundreds of thousands of mainly Muslim migrants seeking asylum in the bloc after arriving last year.
Orban has led resistance to the stance taken by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has said EU states have an obligation to share the burden of taking in refugees.
He responded to the influx last year by sealing Hungary's southern borders with a razor-wire fence and deploying thousands of soldiers and police.
"As heirs to 1956 we cannot allow Europe to cut the roots that made it great and helped us survive the Soviet suppression. There is no free Europe without nation states and thousands of years of wisdom from Christianity," he said on Sunday. "We must close the border to stop the mass migration that flows from the south."
Polish President Andrzej Duda, the guest of honor at the commemoration, assured Hungarians of support from Warsaw. "You can count on Poland, we march together in the toughest moments," Duda told supporters waving Polish flags. "Two countries which were built on Christian foundations and are now free in the unified Europe," he added.
After an Oct. 2 referendum against any future European Union plans to relocate asylum-seekers, plans to amend the constitution were announced by Hungarian PM Orban. Hungary's far-right Jobbik party says it will only support the government's constitutional amendment opposing the mass settlement of migrants if it also bans a disputed plan offering residency permits to foreigners buying a special state bond for 300,000 euros ($330,000). Jobbik president Gabor Vona says that his party wants "to protect Hungary from all kinds of settlements." Vona's announcement could make it harder for Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party to secure the two-thirds majority needed in the legislature to approve the amendment.
Viktor Orban is considered as Europe's standard-bearer for swelling opposition to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's "open-door" policy as the continent grapples with its worst migration since World War II.
Nicknamed "Viktator", Orban has sealed Hungary's borders with barbed wire fences that his younger self had fought to tear down. And on Sunday he hopes to boost his growing clout with a national vote aimed at rejecting the EU's troubled migrant quota plan. Orban is often seen bantering with EU President Jean-Claude Juncker who jokingly greeted him with "Hello, dictator" at an EU summit last year.