On its southern border section Hungary also protects Austria’s borders
07. 05. 2019.
On its southern border section Hungary also protects Austria’s borders, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated on Monday in Budapest after he had talks with Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, President of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ). The Prime Minister also said that, due to a statement insulting Hungarian electors, he will be unable to support the People’s Party candidate Manfred Weber for the position of President of the European Commission.

Mr Orbán said at their joint international press conference that they needed Heinz-Christian Strache and his party in order to change the Austrian position to an anti-immigration stance, and to observe Hungary’s border protection efforts favourably. He remarked that the former left-wing Austrian government did everything they could to prevent Hungary from building the southern border fence; however, with the right-wing government this situation has changed.

Photo: Balázs Szecsődi


He further said they would like changes to take place in Europe which are similar to those that took place in Austria. If in Austria it is possible for a centre-right governing party to cooperate with a patriotic, right-wing party, then why could this not happen on a European level as well, the Prime Minister asked, pointing out that what works in Vienna could also work in Brussels.

He described the European Left as “hopelessly pro-immigration”, indicating that if centre-right parties choose to cooperate with this Left, sooner or later they will have to make compromises. “Therefore, instead of a large European coalition, we also keep on the agenda the possibility of opening towards the Right.”

At the amicable meeting the parties further agreed that Christian culture must be given priority as respect for women, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and electoral equality can only be sustained in the Christian cultural environment, Mr Orbán said.

The parties concluded that Hungarian-Austrian bilateral relations are settled and successful, and they both stood for the development of economic cooperation, the Prime Minister said regarding their talks, adding that he is expecting to see the cooperation of two economically successful countries.

In his view, on economic issues the European Left has declared socialism which, he said, will result in tax increases, bureaucracy and indebtedness. “Hungary lived in the socialist economic system once before, it did not work, and we would like Brussels to not experiment with it either,” he stated.

Photo: Gergely Botár

In answer to a question concerning the candidacy of Manfred Weber of the People’s Party, Mr Orbán said the Hungarian government and its leader cannot find themselves in a situation where they support a person for the office of President of the European Commission who states as a matter of course that he does not want the votes of the Hungarian people.

Manfred Weber said that if he could only win the presidency of the European Commission with the votes of the Hungarian people, then he would rather not take the job, the Prime Minister quoted the People’s Party politician’s words. He described this as a serious statement, and a violation of the principle regarding respect for the electorate.

Mr Orbán said he believes that, based on the campaign, the current candidates for the Brussels commission presidency are unsuitable. He expects a series of complex talks to precede the election of the prospective president.

“We are looking for the right candidate,” he said, observing that “this is finally a point on which we agree with Mr Weber: it would not be right if he became President of the Commission with the votes of the Hungarian people”.

Photo: Gergely Botár

While, in his words, at present pro-immigration political forces including the Left and the majority of the EPP have strong positions, the strengthening of anti-immigration forces – the EPP’s right wing and the political field right of them, patriotic parties – will result in a more balanced situation.

He also expressed hope that in the European Council the percentage of those belonging to the right wing of the People’s Party or to parties right of that wing will increase.

Regarding Fidesz’s People’s Party membership, he confirmed that Fidesz is unable to envisage itself in an EPP in which pro-immigration forces are in the majority; “this is why we were compelled to suspend our membership rights in order to wait and see which way the People’s Party will turn after the elections”. However, opening towards the Right – the position that Fidesz represents – is in a minority within the EPP, he indicated, adding that if Fidesz has the right to remain in a minority on strategic issues within the EPP, it will do so. If, however, the party family becomes “intolerant” “then naturally we will have to seek a place elsewhere”.

He stressed at the same time that they will wait until the European parliamentary elections before they make any decision. This is why they have not been invited to the political rally organised by Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini because without knowledge of the outcome of the EP elections they would not want to attend any such meeting, he said.

Photo: Gergely Botár


Regarding the renegotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon, he said perhaps for reasons other than those that motivated the forces that announced this initiative, he, too, would be happy if the opportunity emerged “for opening up the issue of the Treaty” as “we are forced into the Treaty” that is in effect today.

In answer to a question concerning Hungarian-Austrian cooperation, the Prime Minister observed that while there are conflicts of interest, they can be managed with good intentions and intellectual power. In his view, they will be able to find solutions to all such issues, including the border closure on inferior roads. Regarding the issue of the family allowance, they decided to put this topic back on the agenda after the decision of the European Court, while joint committees will be set up to remedy the problem of border crossing stations.

At the end of the press conference, Mr Orbán said they do not forget which parties and which persons stood up for the Hungarian people upon the attacks launched by the European Left against Hungary. FPÖ stood up for Hungary clearly and spectacularly, and “this we will not forget,” he added.