Hungarian voters will decide in next year’s elections whether they will remain a “free nation” protecting their cultural heritage or join those who are eroding Europe’s traditional values by supporting immigration and integration, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said.
Orban has clashed with fellow European Union leaders over his rejection of deeper cooperation among the bloc’s members and refusal to shelter migrants. The target of international criticism for democratic backsliding, he has kicked off his campaign to win a third consecutive term by lashing out at foreign forces he says are trying to undermine Hungary. Among the major targets for criticismO have been German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy for refugees and Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros.
“The most important danger is the debate between globalists and nations,” Orban told a conference of Hungarian diaspora in Budapest on Thursday. “Europe has decided that it can step into a post-Christian and post-nation world.” Immigration policy will be a key factor shaping the vote, said Orban, who has built a fence along parts of Hungary’s southern border to prevent an inflow of refugees. Hungary has joined with Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic refusing to conduct open door policy for migrants from third countries.
Unlike some other countries, Hungary doesn’t want immigration to solve its demographic problems of an aging population or labor shortage, Orban said. Instead, he will focus on family-friendly policies to increase the population.