'Hungarians will not become a mixed race': Orbán's latest tirade sparks new row

'Hungarians will not become a mixed race': Orbán's latest tirade sparks new row
Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban arrives for a special meeting of the European council, at the European Union headquarters in Brussels, Monday 30 May 2022. BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has blasted the 'mixing' of European and non-European races in a speech which sparked immediate outrage from Hungarian opposition parties and European politicians.

"We [Hungarians] are not a mixed race and we don't want to become a mixed race," Orbán said on Saturday. He added that countries where Europeans and non-Europeans mingle "are no longer nations."

During his speech on Saturday, Orbán alluded to the 'great replacement theory', a racist conspiracy that claims white people will be replaced by non-white people through immigration. He also said it was “an ideological trick of the internationalist left to say the European population is already mixed race”.

Nonetheless, the Hungarian PM has been making these kinds of racist comments for years, often finding himself at odds with stated EU values.

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Katalin Cseh, MEP from Hungarian opposition party Momentum, called out Orbán's statement. "Orban carefully cultivates a more palatable image in Brussels/abroad. Many conservatives happily posing with him would never publicly endorse such far-right extremist rants. So let’s lay it out, also for *their* voters to see who they’re enabling," she said.

On Twitter, Cseh addressed the mixed race people in Hungary, adding that "your skin color may be different, you may be from Europe or beyond, but you are one of us, and we are proud of you. Diversity strengthens the nation, does not weaken it.”

Romanian MP Alin Mituța was indignant at Orbán's comments. "Speaking of racial or ethnic 'purity', especially in such a mixed region as Central and Eastern Europe, is delusional and dangerous. And so is Mr Orban," he wrote on Twitter.

Orbán spoke out during an annual speech in Băile Tuşnad, Romania, where he has previously proposed ideological shifts. In 2014, he said there that he wanted to build an "illiberal democracy" in Hungary.

Putin's ally

During his speech this year, Orbán railed against the West, predicting "a decade of danger, uncertainty and war." He denounced Western military support for Ukraine and ramped up his support for Russia.

"The more modern weapons NATO gives to the Ukrainians, the more the Russians will move up the front line. What we are doing is prolonging the war," Orbán said during Saturday's speech.

Hungary is a NATO member, but Orbán has maintained warm relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Orbán spoke for five hours with the Russian leader in Moscow.

Last week, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó went to Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to ask for more gas supply, in a rare high-level meeting with EU officials.

Battling Brussels

Brussels has long been at odds with Budapest's increasingly undemocratic tendencies, which has included Orbán's war on press freedom and the judiciary in Hungary. However, his rapprochement with Russia has put him on a collision course with Poland, who used to join his battle against the EU on rule of law issues, making Hungary an outlier in the EU.

The European Commission has taken Hungary to court over its recent anti-LGBTQ+ law, a bill that copies Russia's 'anti-gay' law, which prohibits LGBTQ+ to appear in education or on TV aimed at minors.

Orbán's battles against the EU are only intensifying, as the EU has frozen billions of euros in recovery funds for Hungary due to corruption and rule of law breaches. Orbán's speech could signal that Budapest has given up hopes of receiving the recovery funds.

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