In Malta speech, Hungary PM Orban warns against ‘invasion of Muslim migrants’

Populist and authoritarian Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban tells EPP congress in Malta that EU must change to safeguard family values and Christianity: “We should not be afraid of being called populists.”

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban (left) in a meeting with PN leader Simon Busuttil on Tuesday
Hungarian PM Viktor Orban (left) in a meeting with PN leader Simon Busuttil on Tuesday

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban confirmed his credentials as an anti-migration and Islamophobic leader by warning European People’ s Party delegates meeting in Malta that the EU should defend itself from a looming “invasion of Muslim migration.”

Stepping up his anti-migration rhetoric, Orban said migration turned out to to be the Trojan horse of terrorism, a short-term solution to labour shortages and a business for NGOs.

Calling for reception centres for asylum seekers to be set up in Libya, Orban said EU countries should take Hungary’s example and defend borders by putting up walls.

Orban who is often accused of steering Hungary away from democratic norms said “borders can be fully controlled and don’t believe anyone who says this is impossible. We defend thousands of kilometres of the European border without any contribution from the EU. We are the living proof that defence is possible, this is real solidarity.”

In recent months, Hungary has faced intense criticism after erecting a razor wire fence on its border with Serbia to prevent refugees entering the country. Defending the move, Orban claimed he was simply upholding EU rules that meant refugees must claim asylum in the first country they set foot in. 

Addressing the EPP delegates in Malta on Thursday, Orban said "tomorrow is casting a shadow on today" and warned that the EU must change to safeguard its competitiveness, family values and Christianity. Orban added “we are the popular party, we should not be afraid of being called populists.”

Popular parties, Orban said, should not succumb to ideological pressures from the left and accused European socialists of wanting to let in millions of migrants, remove subsidiary and increase taxes.

Describing Hungary as Europe’s gateway to the East, Orban called for a shift in EU foreign policy and blamed European and US interventionism in North Africa and the Middle East for the instability in the regions.

“We need to reform the foreign policy of the EU and speak frankly even if  this is painful. We are making huge mistakes and our failed policies have led to destabilisation of North Africa and the Middle East.”

He also warned that Europe’s influence in the Balkans and Eastern Europe is on the wane as opposed to growing Russian and US influence. Orban also said the EU should speed up the membership applications of Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia to guarantee stability in the region.

After taking leadership if the right-wing and nationalist Fidesz in 1993, Orban was elected prime minister in 1998, but despite economic growth and securing NATO membership under his leadership, the party fell from power amid a corruption scandal,.

After spending eight years in opposition, Orban's politics took a new authoritarian and xenophobic direction, and in 2007 was the given the Economist's "politics of the gutter award", for his "cynical populism and mystifyingly authoritarian socialist-style policies".