Hungary’s Prime Minister pledged Monday that the top priorities of the new government will be preserving the country’s Christian culture and security against migrant threats.
PM Viktor Orban, who won re-election in April, has vehemently opposed allowing Muslim migrants fleeing Africa and Syria access to Hungary, and also vowed to stop George Soros-funded NGOs from influencing Hungarian policy with a pro-migrant agenda, according to Reuters. Orban said that his new government will work to establish an “old-school Christian democracy.”
“The main task of the new government will be to preserve Hungary’s security and Christian culture,” Orban said, according to Reuters.
“We are working on building an old-school Christian democracy, rooted in European traditions … we believe in the importance of the nation, and in Hungary we do not want to yield ground to any supranational business or political empire,” he added during a Friday radio interview.
Orban believes that migrants from majority-Muslim countries pose a threat to Hungary both in terms of national security and in terms of cultural preservation. He has long-held these views, but began espousing them more openly to an increasingly sympathetic voter base after high-profile Islamist attacks in Europe like the ISIS attack on Charlie Hebdo in 2015.
“We will never allow Hungary to become a target country for immigrants. We do not want to see significantly sized minorities with different cultural characteristics and backgrounds among us. We want to keep Hungary as Hungary,” Orban said after the attack, according to BBC.
Orban’s top aide, Janos Lazar, also claimed in a social media post that Muslim migrants were responsible for an exodus of white Christians from and rising crime rates in Austria. Orban accused Facebook of censoring Lazar’s post but later praised the company for swiftly reinstating it.
Orban said that any organization involved in the migration issue would have to be cleared by national security authorities before they could operate in Hungary. He also announced that one of the first pieces of legislation that Hungary’s parliament will pass under the new government will be a “Stop Soros” bill, which will mandate a tax of 25 percent on all foreign donations to NGOs that support allowing migrants from Muslim majority countries into Hungary. Many of the NGOs to be affected by this bill depend on funding from the Soros-founded Open Society Foundations, including Transparency International and the Helsinki Committee, the latter of which provides legal aid to migrants seeking asylum in Hungary, according to BBC.
Soros in turn has denied Orban’s claims against him and accused the prime minister of creating a “mafia state” in Hungary.
With his party’s majority in parliament, Orban’s stated goals are not idle promises. The prime minister’s Fidesz party holds 133 of 199 seats in parliament, enabling Orban to pass any bill his party supports.
His anti-migrant stance has garnered heavy criticism from the international community, in particular from the United Nations human rights chief, who called Orban’s top aide a racist for espousing the same views. But Orban’s policies could hardly be more popular in his own country, where his stance on immigration was well received in Hungary’s rural areas and helped earn a massive victory for him in the latest election.
Hungary’s parliament will hold session for the first time after the prime minister’s election on Tuesday.