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Macron accepts Orbán’s challenge

August 31st, 2018

As President Emmanuel Macron of France accepts Mr Orbán’s identification of him as his main adversary in Europe, a pro-government analyst explains that the two leaders are in fact the leading personalities of two opposing camps in Europe.

Reacting to a meeting between Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and PM Viktor Orbán of Hungary, Mr Macron said ‘if they wanted to see me as their main opponent, they were right to do so’. At a press conference after the meeting with Mr Salvini in Milan, Mr Orbán identified in President Macron the leader of what he called the pro-immigration forces in Europe (See BudaPost, August 30.) Mr Macron swiftly replied that ‘a strong opposition is building up between nationalists and progressives and I will yield nothing to nationalists’.

In Magyar Hírlap, Gergely Berzi, the Director of Foreign Affairs of the pro-government Századvég think tank suggests that Mr Macron and Mr Orbán are the main protagonists of the confrontation mentioned by the French President. Mr Macron is in fact the leader of the pro-immigration camp, he explains, as Chancellor Merkel of Germany has been severely weakened by the evident failure of her open doors policy and has taken a less pro-immigration stance. On the other hand, the analyst remarks, Mr Macron’s high European ambitions are in sharp contrast with his falling popularity in his own country. As for Mr Orbán, he argues, he was the first sitting Prime Minister in Europe to caution against uncontrolled illegal immigration and can be considered the leading figure in the anti-immigration camp, as other members, including Mr Salvini and Chancellor Kurz of Austria ‘have taken his policy as a pattern to follow’. Berzi suggests that the anti-immigration forces will continue to grow in strength ‘as long as Europe proves unable to find a solution to the migration issue.’

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