Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, during a press conference with the Austrian Chancellor, July 28, 2022 in Vienna (APA / GEORG HOCHMUTH)
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban defended a Hungarian “cultural point of view” on Thursday after his fierce speech last weekend against “race mixing”, which drew the ire of the United States.
“Sometimes it happens that I speak in a way that may not be understood, but I ask the Chancellor (Austrian Karl Nehammer) to please put the information in a cultural context,” he said in Vienna, where he is visiting. “In Hungary, these expressions and sentences represent a cultural, civilizational point of view”.
“Rhetoric of this nature is inexcusable” more than “75 years after the Holocaust”, estimated on the same day the spokesman of the American State Department Ned Price, citing a press release from Deborah Lipstadt, Washington’s special representative on anti-Semitism issues.
He also said he was “deeply alarmed” by a speech that used “rhetoric that clearly evokes Nazi racial ideology”.
Viktor Orban, a 59-year-old nationalist leader who often lashes out at fierce anti-migrants, rejected on Saturday the vision of a “multi-ethnic” society.
“We don’t want to be a mixed race”, mixing with “non-Europeans”, he said, before making an obvious allusion to the gas chambers of the Nazi regime, which earned him strong criticism from Holocaust survivors. and the Jewish community.
– Resignation –
Rarely in the Orban era, Zsuzsa Hegedus, a sociologist who has advised Mr. Orban for a long time and whose parents survived the Holocaust, submitted her resignation on Tuesday. He criticized “a shameful position” and “a pure Nazi text worthy of (Joseph) Goebbels”, the former propaganda chief of Nazi Germany.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (D) and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer on July 28, 2022 in Vienna (AFP / Alex HALADA)
Since his return to power in 2010, Viktor Orban has transformed his country by implementing “illiberal” reforms, on the basis of “defending a Christian Europe”.
In particular, he attacked migrants arriving from Africa and the Middle East and the NGOs that helped them, making it difficult to find asylum and building barriers at borders. But when he made similar comments in the past, he did not use the term “race” in this way, according to experts.
The Austrian Chancellor addressed this new controversy at the start of the press conference, “strongly condemning all forms of racism and anti-Semitism” and making sure that the two men address the issue “with complete frankness”.
“We are in complete agreement,” Viktor Orban reacted, saying he was “proud” of the “zero tolerance” policy followed by Hungary.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (L) is welcomed by Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer on July 28, 2022 in Vienna (AFP / Alex HALADA)
MM. Nehammer and Orban also discussed “illegal immigration” and “energy cooperation”, since their two countries are highly dependent on Russian gas.
The Hungarian Prime Minister took the opportunity to once again blame the policy of the European Union in the face of the conflict in Ukraine. Hungary is against in particular the plan for the coordinated reduction of gas consumption, which was voted on Tuesday in reaction to the reduction of Russian shipments.
“If we start restricting a product, it is a sign that we are in trouble. We are heading towards a war economy and, if this war continues, recession is inevitable”, launched Mr. Orban .
And to call the European Commission to choose a new “strategy” and “not to run to the wall” by going further through a gas embargo. An option that is not suitable for today.
Viktor Orban made his first trip to one of Hungary’s EU partners since his victorious re-election in early April.
Austria, a neutral country that aims to be a bridge between western and eastern Europe, wants not to sideline Hungary, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity.