Orbán: The real battle (with Brussels) starts now!

September 8, 2017

Orbán: Brussels wants to force Yousufs on Hungary
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in the studio of Kossuth Rádió.
Photo: MTI/Tibor Illyés

On Friday, an increasingly heavy-breathing Viktor Orbán appeared on Hungary’s state-run radio to let the nation know that the battle has only just begun! The two issues discussed during the interview were the European Court of Justice’s ruling against Hungary in the case regarding an EU decision concerning the relocation of refugees, and Orbán’s version of solidarity.

On Wednesday, Hungary lost its case in the European Court of Justice challenging the obligatory relocation of asylum-seekers across the European Union. Orbán used his defeat at the ECJ to effectively declare war on Brussels. Again.

“It is important to pick our words carefully when responding to a court ruling like this one, especially when we are working in a hostile European community,” Orbán said in the interview. “We have to acknowledge the ruling because respect for the law is the foundation of the European Union. At the same time, this ruling does not give us a reason to change our immigration policy which rejects the migrants. So we are not going to change this policy.

“We acknowledge [the ECJ’s decision] and we’ll live with it, but we will fight against Brussels’ policies which are intent on sending anyone into a Member State against the wishes of the nation states. This is an absurd situation. We live here in Hungary. Those upstanding bureaucrats are sitting there in Brussels, and they think these three Yousufs shouldn’t stay in Brussels or Greece but in Budapest! And they decide that these people will live in Budapest!” the Prime Minister said.

Orbán reduced the EU plan for the decision to distribute refugees throughout the Member States to a scenario where Western European countries are using Brussels to force something down the throats of Eastern European countries.

“I think this entire affair raises a serious theoretical issue: are we the Europe of free nations, whose shared interests are represented by the European Commission? Or are we a European empire of which Brussels is the capital, which issues orders against the vetoes of the Member States’ leaders? This is the fundamental issue. Migration and immigration is important but an even more important issue, freedom and sovereignty, is what’s on the table,” Orbán said.

According to him, the ECJ sided with the Commission to “open the door through which they will try to change Europe from a traditional Europe peoples and culture into a continent of mixed peoples and cultures. I can also say that they opened the door for the Soros plan and I am anticipating an acceleration of this process in the near future.”

Solidarity, Orbán-style

Hungary’s solidarity is expressed through its border fence, its border hunters and the thousands of police who protect Europe’s southern border “just as we have done on a number of occasions for the past 1,000 years,” Orbán said.

In his eyes, the debate regarding 1,294 asylum-seekers coming to Hungary is not about solidarity. As he sees it, there is a “Soros plan” in the works, one in the form of a European Commission proposal to create a system for continuous refugee distribution. If EU Member States accept this one-off distribution, the Soros plan would make further distributions binding on Member States. In other words, it’s not the 1,294 refugees Hungary is fighting against, but the “Soros plan”.

“We never invited anyone to live here. We are not an immigrant country, and Hungary does not want to become an immigration country. Personally, as the prime minister, I was given a mandate from the Hungarian people to defend this country’s economy, culture, intellectual identity, traditions and national interests. This is what is in the Hungarian constitution. I will never consent to any big power, regardless of who that big dog may be – the former colonial powers or those doing their bidding in Brussels – to turn us into an immigrant country,” Orbán said.

When asked whether his version of solidarity may result in financial sanctions against Hungary, he responded that it is both “unlawful and immoral” for the European Union to tie a Member State’s willingness to conform to EU rules to its access to structural funds.

“This would go against existing EU laws,” Orbán said.

What to expect in the future

“The real battle starts now!” Orbán declared. “Now we will enter a political battle which has many forms and which we will fight completely.”