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PM Orbán’s speech at Tusnádfürdő

July 28th, 2015

Commentators find PM Orbán’s speech focusing on illegal migration at Fidesz’s annual summer university more moderate and cautious than his addresses in previous years.

In his address at the Youth Free University at the Carpathian resort town of Baile Tusnad (Tusnádfürdő), in Romania, Viktor Orbán talked about the challenges facing Europe and Hungary. He underlined that the European Union has been a success story, as it secured peace and welfare on the continent. But he suggested that recently the EU has abandoned its pragmatic mission of strengthening security, increasing welfare and creating a common market. This was being done, he told his supporters, for the sake of “an ideological obsession” of weakening national sovereignty in order to strengthen centralization, regardless of whether this makes practical sense. Mr Orbán cautioned against the creation of a ‘United States of Europe’, because national diversity, in his view, cannot be squared with a US-like federal institutional arrangement.

As for the current challenges, PM Orbán said that European values and nations are endangered by mass immigration. The ‘anti-national’ European Left welcomes immigration since it helps the Left in achieving its aim of abolishing nations and national sovereignty in Europe, he argued. In an aside about the failed 2004 referendum on citizenship for Hungarians living outside the country, which Fidesz supported and the Hungarian Socialist Party opposed, Viktor Orbán said the Hungarian Left “does not like Hungarians because they are Hungarians”.“There is a clear correlation between illegal migration to Europe and increasing terrorist threats” he said, and also suggested that illegal migration increases unemployment. Quoting UN statistics on Sweden, the UK and Italy, PM Orbán said that “there is a drastic increase in crime in places where many illegal migrants live”. Hungarians share the above concerns, according to a survey commissioned by his government, he claimed – a reference to the result of the ‘nationwide consultation on migration’ (see BudaPost April 28). Among those who filled out the survey, two-thirds said they were concerned about terrorism, and three-quarters are afraid that illegal migration is a threat to Hungarians’ jobs and welfare. In total, four-fifths of respondents supported the Hungarian government’s intention to introduce stricter measures than required by the EU to stop the flow of illegal migrants.

Viktor Orbán seems to be battling “imaginary enemies” György Sebes comments in Népszava. Sebes believes that PM Orbán refrained this time from the ‘bombastic rhetorical inventions’ comparable to last year’s ‘illiberal democracy’ speech, but the address was nonetheless ‘important and telling’. PM Orbán portrays migration as a threat so that he can pose as the defender of both Hungary and Europe, Sebes suspects. He goes on to add that the Prime Minister still fears its left-wing opposition, despite the fact that they had no chance to challenge him at the last elections.

PM Orbán senses a weakening of European support for left-wing approaches to migration, György Pápay writes in Magyar Nemzet. The conservative pundit welcomes what he believes was a more balanced view of the West and Europe than last year. While national sovereignty is important, we must also acknowledge and reaffirm European values and human rights, which are antithetic to the authoritarian rule practised in countries including China, Russia and Turkey, which Mr Orbán praised in last year’s address, Pápay contends.

In Napi Gazdaság, János Csontos also thinks that PM Orbán remained pragmatic in his address and avoided controversial and easily misinterpretable ideological terminology. The conservative analyst thinks that the Left will have a hard time to react to Mr Orbán’s words on migration. If they agree that Hungary should be a country of Hungarians, they lose face, while if they stick to their pro-migration rhetoric, they may easily lose what is still left of their voter base, Csontos maintains.

Cink’s Albert Gazda comments on the results of the nationwide consultation on immigration. He finds it problematic that PM Orbán has identified the views of the 1.25 million respondents with that of the whole nation. Left-wing parties recommended that those who disagree with a questionnaire which, they believed, promoted anti-immigrant messages, should not fill out or return the survey. Gazda thinks that the suggestion that the respondents represent Hungary implies that those who did not return the questionnaire may not be part of the Hungarian nation at all.

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