Hungary: A defender of Christian Europe?
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has always been a xenophobic nationalist, said the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany) in an editorial, but now he has lost whatever “kernel of rationality” he once possessed. Orban, whose Fidesz party is expected to win the April elections, declared in his annual state of the nation address this week that his administration is the last bastion in the fight against the “Islamization” of Europe. When more than a million desperate migrants from Syria and elsewhere flooded into the European Union in 2015, his government erected a razor-wire fence on Hungary’s southern border, and it has since refused to accept its EU-mandated share of refugees. Orban called this denial of basic humanity and EU law a noble attempt to save the West. He then launched into an anti-Semitic “conspiracy theory,” alleging that the Hungarian-born Jewish-American philanthropist George Soros was trying to dechristianize Europe. “We will fight,” Orban said, “and step one is our anti-Soros law,” which would impose a 25 percent tax on foreign donations to NGOs that support migration. With this speech, “Orban has left the path of democracy.”
So what will the EU do about it? asked Thorsten Knuf in the Berliner Zeitung (Germany). With each passing day, Hungary moves farther away from the bloc’s core democratic values: “separation of powers, respect for fundamental rights, and judicial independence.” Officials in Brussels could threaten to suspend Hungary’s voting rights in EU institutions. But we’ve started that process with Poland, which is experiencing a similar slide toward authoritarianism—and Orban says Hungary will veto Poland’s punishment, expecting the same courtesy from Poland in return. “There is only one way to bring the despisers of freedom and pluralism in the EU to their senses: Turn off the flow of money.” Hungary gets nearly $7 billion a year from the bloc. Could Orban survive without it?
The Hungarian race is being threatened with destruction, said Laszlo Bertha in Hungary’s 888.hu. So thank goodness our leader has “discarded contemptible political correctness” and speaks in plain terms. “We do not want our own color, traditions, and national culture to be mixed with those of others,” Orban said earlier this month. “We do not want to be diverse.” Soros and the EU leaders who do his bidding would turn this country into a den of Muslims and homosexuals. No, thank you. Hungarians will keep “our own identity, our own country, our past successes, our national pride.”
What’s most disturbing is that Orban is not alone in this sentiment, said Ralf Leonhard in Die Tageszeitung (Germany). Austria’s right-wing Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has suggested a military option to stem the tide of migrants, and the once-marginal Alternative for Germany party rocketed to third place in last year’s German elections by pushing a virulently anti-immigrant message. “Orban’s recipe for success, fear plus xenophobia, is working frighteningly well all over Europe.” ■