Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Saturday became the first European leader to endorse US presidential candidate Donald Trump, calling him a “better option” for the bloc than his rival, Hillary Clinton.
“I am not a Donald Trump campaigner. I never thought it would occur to me that of the available options, he would be the better one for Europe and for Hungary”, Orban said in an annual speech at a summer school in Baile Tusnad in Romania.
The right-wing leader said he was swayed by security proposals Trump had made in his acceptance speech as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee on Thursday night.
Depicting America as a country mired in violence, Trump had vowed to increase intelligence efforts, suspend immigration from nations “compromised by terrorism”, and stop a “failed policy of nation-building and regime change” in places like Syria and Iraq.
Orban is also a fervent opponent of immigration — particularly from Muslim nations — and has blamed recent terror attacks in Europe on the bloc’s refugee crisis, which erupted last summer.
“(Trump) has made some proposals about stopping terrorism, that I as a European couldn’t have said better regarding what would be best for Europe”, Orban said.
Orban stressed Europe had to create a network of national intelligence agencies that matched “the world’s best”.
He also supported Trump’s push to “abandon the policy of exporting democracy”.
Orban said the West’s toppling of authoritarian “but stable” regimes in Libya, Syria and Iraq had sparked chaos and unleashed the influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa.
“If we prioritize democracy-building rather than stability in those regions where stability is more important, then we are kindling insecurity,” he said.
Orban warned the same applied to current events in Turkey, which has declared a state of emergency and launched a mass crackdown after a failed coup on July 15.
“If Turkey becomes unstable, then many tens of millions of people could turn toward Europe,” he said.
Around 400,000 migrants and refugees passed through Hungary in 2015 before the government sealed off its southern borders with razor-wire fences in autumn and brought in tough new anti-migrant laws.
Earlier this month, the government announced it would hold a referendum on October 2 on the EU’s troubled plan to share 160,000 migrants around the 28-nation bloc via mandatory quotas.