Decision to hold referendum “not against Europe, but to protect European democracy”
25. 02. 2016.
Thursday’s edition of the German daily Bild published an interview with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán under the title: “The voices from Germany are course, rough and aggressive”.

The Prime Minister stated that he has initiated a referendum to prevent EU compulsory resettlement quotas, which are contrary to European Union law.

He said that “We cannot decide disregarding the people in case of decisions that strongly change their life and also determinate upcoming generations and the quota would reframe the ethnic, cultural and religious profile of Hungary and Europe”. The  Prime Minister stressed that “I have not decided this way against Europe, but to protect European democracy”.

“The basic principle of democracy is loyalty to the nation. We Central Europeans know from historical experience that sooner or later we will lose our freedom if we do not represent the interests of our citizens”, the Prime Minister continued, adding that “We do not want to divide Europe, but rather to protect our citizens”. This means that “we do not want migrants to come to us”, he added, raising the question: “Why would we want to import the problems of Western states?”

In reply to a question on whether national interests are more important to him than Europe, Mr. Orbán said that “Europe is made of the totality of national interests. European politics must not turn on the interests of individual states”. When asked whether Europe – which was always an issue very close to the heart of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl – is now exploding around us, one of the Prime Minister’s comments was that he sees himself as one of Helmut Kohl’s political pupils, stressing that now we are “in danger from chaos in Brussels and the paralysis of the EU”.

What the Prime Minister said he is most unhappy about is that “Brussels tolerates and promotes a culture of breaching treaties”. In reply to a question on whether he agrees with the views of Slovakian prime minister Robert Fico, who has accused the Germans of issuing a “diktat” on the refugee question, Mr. Orbán said that he would not call it a “diktat”, but “the voices coming from Berlin are coarse, rough, and aggressive”, and “in the current chaos of the migration crisis, this is a big problem” because the Germans and “we Central Europeans maintain the basic values of Europe”, the Judeo-Christian worldview, trustworthiness and the guarantee that treaties will be respected.

Instead of arguing with each other we should be united, the Prime Minister said – especially since there are “very different signals coming from Brussels: multi-culturalism, disorder and breach of treaties”.

When asked whether Germany’s unilateral policy is to be blamed for the refugee disaster in Europe, Mr. Orbán said it is not, adding that the wave of migrants has been caused by chaos in the Middle East, in Syria and Iraq. The German Chancellor, he said, has “merely reacted to that and has welcomed migrants and I am sure she had the well-being of her people in mind when doing so”.

“I genuinely hope that Ms. Merkel will be successful in what she has started”, but “we Hungarians, however, vindicate not to take on such an experiment, because we think that is the interest of our people”, Mr. Orbán said.

Anyone who “takes masses of non-registered immigrants from the Middle East” into a country is also importing terrorism, criminality, anti-Semitism and homophobia, he declared. Hungary is a cultural melting-pot where “Christians and Jews live together and not next to each other”, there are no ghettos or no-go areas and no scenes like New Year’s Eve in Cologne, he said, stressing that he would not want his children to grow up in a world in which “something like Cologne can happen”.

The Prime Minister also added to his previous comment to Bild, in which he said that Article 1 of the Hungarian Constitution states that the “German Chancellor is always right”. We do not have to imitate everything the Germans are doing, he said: “There is an alternative to German migration policy, but I can see no alternative to Chancellor Merkel”.

When asked whether he enjoyed being the German Chancellor’s foremost opponent, the Prime Minster replied that this is not a “beauty contest”. He said that if Berlin and Brussels had listened to the Central Europeans last summer, now we would have no more than some tens of thousands of “genuine refugees” in Europe, and not over a million “uncontrolled migrants”. Mr. Orbán added that from the beginning Hungary had demanded that migrants be halted, registered and divided into refugees and “economic migrants”.

When asked what mistakes by Angela Merkel have led to her now being isolated in Europe, the Prime Minister joked that Article 2 of the Hungarian Constitution states: “Never give advice to the German Chancellor”. Mr. Orbán said that “We Hungarians do not like living at somebody else’s expense. And of course we do not want others to live at ours”.

According to the Prime Minister, the decision to distribute 160,000 refugees among EU Member States is “not legal” and contravenes EU law.

The Prime Minister stressed that the distribution formula is nonsense, and does not work, but no one in Brussels wants to admit this.

With regard to Greece, Mr. Orbán said that “You can only help someone who wants to be helped”, adding that he is keeping his fingers crossed for Greece, but “they, too, have to respect the law”.

With reference to the EU-Turkey summit planned for early March, the Prime Minister explained that the EU is “humbly begging” to have its external borders protected, which is not a good policy, because “it makes Europe’s future and safety dependent on Turkey’s goodwill”.

“Brussels is now making promises to Turkey that we will not be able to keep – or will not want to keep”, he said, adding that he believes the plan to transfer hundreds of thousands of migrants from Turkey to Europe and distribute them between Member States is an illusion.

“People here in Budapest would lynch me if I agreed to that”, the Prime Minister said.