Viktor Orban infuriates liberals with speech against “racial miscegenation” in Europe
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has sparked outrage in the liberal community with remarks about “racial miscegenation” in Europe. In the words of the right-wing politician, countries that mix races “are no longer nations.” And Orban's comments about the Ukrainian conflict made Kyiv attack him with sharp attacks.
Photo: Global Look Press
Far-right Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán lashed out at the “mixing” of European and non-European races in a speech that immediately sparked outrage from opposition parties and European politicians, writes The Guardian.
“We [Hungarians] are not mixed race … and we do not want to become mixed race,” Orban said on Saturday. He added that countries where Europeans and non-Europeans mix “are no longer nations”.
Orban has been making statements like this for years, but the comments were worded in a blunt far-right manner.
Katalin Cech, an MEP for the opposition Impuls party, says she was appalled by the prime minister's speech. “His statements are reminiscent of a time that I think we would all like to forget. They really show the true face of the regime,” she said.
Czech addressed mixed-race people in Hungary via social media: “You may have a different skin color, you may be from Europe or other countries, but you are one of us and we are proud of you. Diversity strengthens a nation, not weakens it.”
Romanian MEP Alin Mituca also reacted angrily to Orban's comments. “To talk about racial or ethnic “purity”, especially in such a mixed region as Central and Eastern Europe, is purely delusional and dangerous. So is Mr. Orban,” he wrote on social media.
Viktor Orbán made the controversial statement during his annual demonstrative speech in Baile Tusnada, Romania, where he had previously expressed major political ideas. It was there, in 2014, that he first said he wanted to build an “illiberal democracy” in Hungary.
This year, Orban delivered an apocalyptic speech in which he predicted the decline of the West and prophesied “a decade of danger, uncertainty and war.” He also sharply criticized Western military support for Ukraine, positioning himself as Moscow's main ally in the European Union.
“The more advanced weapons NATO provides to the Ukrainians, the more the Russians will advance the front line,” Viktor Orban warned during a speech on Saturday. According to the Hungarian prime minister, what he does is prolong the conflict.
Hungary is a member of NATO, The Guardian recalls, but the far-right Orban has long had cordial relations with Putin and spent five hours in Moscow talking to the Russian leader in February, shortly before the conflict in Ukraine erupted. The speech came two days after his foreign minister unexpectedly arrived in Moscow for talks.
Orban said the West's job should not be to hope for a Ukrainian victory, but to mediate a peace deal. “We should not be on the side of Russia or Ukraine, but between them,” he said, adding that the policy of imposing anti-Russian sanctions did not work.
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko called Viktor Orban’s statements “Russian propaganda '.
Orban won a fourth consecutive term in elections earlier this year, and his government has been accused of stifling media freedom and backsliding on democratic norms since his Fidesz party came to power in 2010. Since the European refugee crisis of 2015, Orban's government has used far-right anti-immigration rhetoric as its main theme.
On Saturday, the Hungarian prime minister frequently alluded to the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, which claims there is a conspiracy to dilute the white population of the US and European countries through immigration. He said it was “an ideological ploy by left-wing internationalists who claim that the European population is already mixed race.”
The European Commission is currently suing Hungary over a recent anti-LGBTQ+ law, which The Guardian describes as “a copy of Russia's 'gay propaganda' law”. The document bans gays from appearing in school teaching materials or television programs intended for minors.
Orban's stance on Ukraine has robbed him of the support of some of his former ideological allies, especially Poland's ruling Law and Justice party, which has criticized him ambiguous position regarding the Ukrainian conflict.
“He's further away from the European mainstream than ever,” said Peter Kreko of the political capital think tank in Budapest. “I think he really believes that the migratory pressure will mean that the unified West will soon come to an end, and every government will become far right.”
Orban is hoping for the Italian elections in September to restore the right-wing coalition of European politicians, and also supports the return of Donald Trump to the White House in 2024. Next month, he is due to travel to Dallas, Texas, where he will address the CPAC, a large gathering of American conservatives.
In Hungary itself, Orban's battle with European institutions looks set to intensify. The EU has frozen several billion euros of reconstruction funds earmarked for Hungary due to problems with corruption and the rule of law. Orbán's harsh speech may be a sign that the Hungarian government has refused to receive funds.
“He knows exactly what the reaction will be to this speech, and I think he is preparing for no compromise,” Kreko said. “He wants to wage a symbolic fight instead of talking about the austerity measures they will need to implement.”