The Prime Minister said that “No matter how much George Soros keeps funding civil society organisations, and no matter how hard the Hungarian billionaire tries to use his money to buy himself into the media and set the tone”, the truth is that the people are opposed to the asylum policy of Western governments – and they are opposed in increasing numbers and with increasing intensity.
As Europe is based on democracy, sooner or later this will lead to trouble, and “everyone can sense the silence and tension before the storm”, he said, adding that one has not seen the people changing their position on an issue of such importance. In his view, therefore, European leaders must fully revise the policies they are pursuing. Mr. Orbán also confirmed that the Government intends to close the migrant reception centre in Bicske, west of Budapest. An action plan for this has been developed, but it will take time to implement.
Speaking about George Soros, the American businessman of Hungarian origin, he said that Mr. Soros – who sees himself as the opposition to the Hungarian government – is most at odds with the Cabinet on the issue of immigration, and is supporting organisations which are trying to make the Government back down. “This is an intensifying conflict between George Soros – the self-proclaimed leader of the Hungarian opposition – and the Hungarian government”, he said.
The Prime Minister also spoke about scholarships funded by George Soros in past decades. Mr. Orbán said that it is “a rather communist way of thinking” for someone to believe, having helped another person, that from then on they are owed a debt by that person, who must adopt their views out of gratitude.
Another topic in the radio interview was the Prime Minister’s official visit to Egypt, which ended on Thursday. In this context, Mr. Orbán said that if there is a will and there are good intentions, “we are able to live side by side in peace with the Islamic world – not mixed together, but side by side”. Anyone who belongs to Christian civilisation cannot hold anti-Muslim views, he said. He added, however, that naturally “We do not wish to adopt Islamic rules in our own lives”, and that “We have our own principles for leading our lives: we respect theirs, and we expect them to also respect ours”.
The Prime Minister said that the Islamic world is not to be seen in terms of the flow of migrants, those who broke through the border fence at Röszke and “the appalling man in Bicske”, who told a Hungarian woman that she should be pleased he did not rape her. Looking beyond the threat of terrorism and violence, he pointed out, one can see that Islamic culture is highly sophisticated. Regarding his meeting with Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of the al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, which is considered the intellectual centre of the Sunni Islam world, he said that they agreed that if Europe wants to further its own interests, it should make every effort to promote the stability of Egypt. “Here in Europe we could hardly bear” the consequences of the collapse of Syria, a country with a population of fewer than 30 million. In comparison, Egypt is a country with a population of 90 million, and if it becomes unstable “and people from there start heading out, we shall not survive it”, he said.
The Grand Imam, he continued, is right to say that the European Union should put aside “its usual European prejudices”, and should concentrate on extending its full support to the current Egyptian political leadership. If there is no successful political leadership in Egypt and there is no strong and united army, Europe will have to face another flow of people which may be three times as great as the flood experienced so far, Mr. Orbán said.
The Prime Minister also urged Europe to reconsider its foreign policy, because in recent years it has intervened in three countries – Iraq, Syria and Libya – and all three have collapsed, a state of chaos has ensued, and millions of refugees have set out in consequence. “We can clearly see the failure of this madness, called the export of democracy […] in which, unbidden, we try to bring happiness to people whose thinking is rooted in civilisations and cultures different from European culture and different from the methods which are tried and tested here. The chaos in the Middle East and its painful consequences for Europe are, to my mind, proof that democracy cannot be exported – either by force of arms, or peacefully”, he said. He added that every nation must be allowed to build its own political and economic system in line with its own culture.
Regarding Libya, he said that one option is for Europe to extend its full support to the Libyan government, to recognise the Libyan army and to accept that it must be armed. The other option, he said, is for European military forces to be deployed with international authorisation on the shores of Libya, where large refugee centres should be set up to screen people who are heading for Europe. Furthermore, those who have already entered Europe illegally should be taken back to these centres.
The Prime Minister also spoke about the referendum being held in Britain soon on the United Kingdom’s EU membership. The Hungarian position on this issue, he said, is that “we are happy to be part of the same alliance as Britain […] but we cannot claim the right to tell the British people what to do”.
In answer to a question on security risks at the UEFA European Championship starting in France in a few days’ time, Mr. Orbán said that he asks every Hungarian to consider their own situation. The Government will provide every assistance to them, and will reinforce its consular services for the duration of the event, he said. He suggested that supporters should register on the website of the consular services before they leave.
The Prime Minister intends to start the second half of his government’s four-year term by resolving all outstanding decisions.
On Kossuth Rádió’s morning programme, Viktor Orbán said: “I expect my ministers to review all decisions on which they have started working over the past two years, decisions which may have been suspended, decisions which are agreed but unimplemented, and decisions which have been modified after disputes ‘despite our best intentions’. I expect these to be resolved in the first half of our term in government.”
“We should not stretch pending matters from the first half of the term into the second half, as if they were pieces of chewing gum”, he said, saying that the Government needs instead to concentrate on the future. This is a formidable task, he said, and therefore there will be many cabinet meetings over the next few weeks. All these decisions will be placed on the agenda one by one, and the Cabinet will enter the second half of its term having ensured that “all issues which we have opened will be settled”.
As an example of these, Mr. Orbán said that though the larger administration systems have been reformed, debates have led to implementation being incomplete in some areas. He said that while education has been reorganised, decisions adopted earlier must be amended in light of agreements reached after negotiations.