Orbán wants to shift Europe to the right

Migration is to be the key topic of the European elections and the "1968 elite" must be voted out of office: these were the demands put forward by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the annual Tusványos Festival celebrated by Romania's Hungarian minority. Commentators are at odds about how seriously Orbán's words should be taken.

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Népszava (HU) /

The god of the Hungarians

Orbán wants to be the leader of Europe - a job that doesn't even exist yet, Népszava jokes:

“He wants to lead all Europe, but not as the president of the European Commission. Because that's an institution of the decadent West which in his view has no future under the present circumstances. No, he'd have to be elected as some kind of higher power who doesn't bother with the minor details of the day-to-day problems, but whose task it is to determine the guidelines for all of Europe. Everyone on the continent should get to know him: the god of the Hungarians!”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Orbán himself doesn't believe what he says

The government in Warsaw should be careful not to be taken in by Orbán's words, Gazeta Wyborcza believes:

“Orbán is painting a picture of a future Europe. A conservative Europe based on traditional values: God, nation, family. The chances are slim that such words, coming from a politician who is accused in his own country of having created a mafia-like state, will convert secularised Western Europeans who are committed to liberal values and a liberal lifestyle. The Hungarian leader knows that. He's playing with the emotions of his own voters and doesn't believe his own words. It would be worse still, however, if the Polish right took these words seriously and sought to help Orbán with a policy that runs counter to Polish interests.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Croatia needs to watch out

Orbán's words strike fear in the heart of Večernji list:

“Orbán's actions during each of his terms of office so far have had a direct impact on Croatia. His policy of fencing off the borders, for example, created a barrier between Croatia and its EU neighbours. Until then it was unthinkable, but now it's a reality. ... Orbán wants to renew Central Europe. According to him these countries reject multiculturalism and the concept of an open society and want to protect their Catholic values and national identity. Orbán is becoming the leader of this 'special culture' in Central Europe. He wants to usher in a new era and expand Hungary beyond its current borders. ... How should Croatia react to this?”

Magyar Hírlap (HU) /

Western Europe's hypocrisy unmasked

Writing in Magyar Hírlap, Ágoston Sámuel Mráz, a political analyst at the Nézöpont Institute, observes with delight that Viktor Orbán is strong enough to push through the interests of Eastern and Central Europe:

“For years he has been trying to form an alliance of Central and Eastern European countries to help them push through their interests in a way that corresponds to their true political clout. The fact that he has a large community behind him and benefits from a strong legitimation at the polls is a sign of confidence in his policies. ... The prime minister has proposed a new Russia policy for Europe, because while Western Europe criticises Russia it continues to do business with it under the table. As an example Orbán cited the pipelines Germany is constructing. ... Central Europe could come out the loser of this hypocritical situation.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

A challenge for all democrats

Europe's elites must put Hungary's prime minister in his place, Hospodářské noviny urges:

“Orbán sees the chance to fulfil a long cherished dream: he wants to be a major European leader and turn the EU into a loose association of nation states. And he welcomes the project of Steven Bannon aimed at creating a strong faction that will dismantle the achievements of European integration after the European elections. ... If Orbán gets serious, Europe's current elites will have to get moving if they want to beat him. Otherwise he really will stand a chance of turning his dream into reality.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Orbán leaves many questions open

Political scientist Radu Carp, who was also invited to deliver a speech at the Tusványos Summer University, analyses the ideological basis of Orbán's speech in his blog with Adevărul:

“Orbán wants a Europe of nations, a model that was not envisaged by the founding fathers. ... For him the alternative to liberal democracy is no longer the illiberal democracy model but the Christian democratic model. ... The main problem with this is that the project of Christian democracy does not serve as a counterpart to liberal democracy. Liberalism fits in perfectly with Christian democracy as far as respect for the law is concerned. A point that was persistently missing in Viktor Orbán's discourse. We want a 'strong Europe' but we don't know exactly what this expression means, and it is only being trivialised through constant repetition.”

Krónika (RO) /

Romania should not put up with this

The festival takes place in the Romanian resort town of Băile Tușnad (Hungarian: Tusnádfürdö), whose population largely comprises members of the Hungarian minority. In his speech, Orbán also criticised Romania's minority policy. Conservative politician Eugen Tomac vents his fury in Krónika:

“It's a fact that there were no high-ranking Romanian politicians at the summer university of Băile Tușnad to put a stop to the anti-Romanian slogans there. This shows once again how we do foreign policy: with our hands behind our backs. ... I find it outrageous that our head of state Klaus Iohannis and the leader of the Social Democratic Party Liviu Dragnea allow Viktor Orbán to get away with such behaviour in Băile Tușnad - as if he were president of Romania for a couple of days.”

168 óra (HU) /

All of Europe should be like Hungary

The speech at the Tusványos Festival in Băile Tușnad, which is above all inhabited by members of the Hungarian minority, is considered the annual highlight of Orbán's Fidesz party. Orbán's words should be taken seriously, warns Zoltán Lakner, deputy editor-in-chief of 168 óra:

“The export of the Hungarian model of Christian democracy has begun. Apart from the rejection of immigration, the liberal family model is presented as a threat to the traditional family. Orbán, who is the negative main character of many analyses and books dealing with the 'illiberal system', quickly became the figurehead of those who oppose immigration and the so-called 'gender ideology'. ... It wasn't just hot air when Orbán ended his speech at the festival by saying that he now wants to oust the elites of the 1968 generation. ... He's getting ready to reshape Europe.”

PestiSrácok (HU) /

Burying the liberal dictatorship at last

PestiSrácok heaps praise on Orbán's speech:

“In Tusnádfürdő [the town's Hungarian Name] Viktor Orbán has a habit of blowing the liberals' fuses. And that's a good thing. Where, if not here in the Székely Land among friends, can he let his ideas flow far more freely than in parliament? His messages were once again clear: Hungary assumes responsibility for all Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin (also for minorities in neighbouring countries), it is fighting the bureaucracy in Brussels and an EU led by Germany and France. It says 'no' to the liberal dictatorship that calls itself democracy. ... And it says 'no' to immigration. This is the big topic in Europe and it will dominate the upcoming European elections.”