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Hungary PM opines against elections in EU

The right-wing nationalist Orban, re-elected in April to a third consecutive term, has spearheaded eastern European resistance to EU moves to have member states accept asylum seekers and migrants under a quota system.


Reuters Last Updated at 28 Jul 2018, 17:07 IST Hungary

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Saturday that European parliament elections next year could bring about a tectonic shift to illiberal "Christian democracy" in the European Union, ending the era of multiculturalism.

The right-wing nationalist Orban, re-elected in April to a third consecutive term, has spearheaded eastern European resistance to EU moves to have member states accept asylum seekers and migrants under a quota system.

Along with Poland's nationalist government, he has been in constant conflict with the European Commission, the EU's executive, over what Brussels calls an erosion of democratic institutions in formerly communist east European countries.

In an annual speech to ethnic Hungarians in Baile Tusnad in neighboring Romania, Orban portrayed the 2019 European parliamentary vote as decisive for the future of Europe.

He said the Western political "elite" of the EU had failed to protect the bloc from Muslim immigration and it was time for them to go. "The European elite is visibly nervous," Orban told hundreds of cheering supporters.

"Their big goal to transform Europe, to ship it into a post-Christian era, and into an era when nations disappear - this process could be undermined in the European elections. And it is our elementary interest to stop this transformation."

Orban said the European parliamentary vote must prove that there was an alternative to liberal democracy, which he said worked in undemocratic ways in Western Europe by being intolerant of alternative views.

"Christian democracy is not liberal...It is illiberal if you like," Orban said.

Unlike liberal democracy, he said, Christian democracy rejects multiculturalism and immigration while being anti-communist and standing for Christian values.

"We are facing a big moment: we are saying goodbye not simply too liberal democracy ... but to the 1968 elite," he said, alluding to an international wave of leftist, liberal protest that upended the ruling conservative order in many countries.

Orban's Fidesz party, which firmly leads opinion polls, has also demonized Hungarian-born U.S. billionaire George Soros and the liberal charity groups he supports. Fidesz has pushed through legislation to restrict the activity of civil society groups that it accuses of encouraging illegal migration.

Orban accuses Soros of promoting mass immigration to undermine Europe's Christian culture. Soros denies this.

Orban has built warm relations with Russia, which is building a nuclear plant in Hungary, and repeatedly criticised EU sanctions against Russia imposed after its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014.

"The EU conducts a primitive policy with relation to Russia today, a policy of sanctions that cites a security threat," Orban said in his speech.

On Russia, he said, the EU should differentiate among EU states by - with NATO help - granting extra security guarantees to Poland and Baltic states that feel menaced by Moscow, while allowing others like Hungary to trade freely with Russia.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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