Hungary’s Orbán praises Trump, criticizes Brussels again

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Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán once again praised new U.S. President Donald J. Trump, while saying that in Brussels “the direction is wrong,” in a speech at an event in the Belgian capital organized by the Antall József Knowledge Center and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, as reported by government website kormany.hu.

Orbán giving a speech yesterday in Brussels. (Photo: Balázs Szecsődi)

According to the Hungarian leader, a “new political era is knocking on Europe’s door”. In what seems to be a reference to George Soros, he said that in Europe, instead of “open societies”, people want democratic societies, kormany.hu reported. This despite the fact that Orbán has previously criticized the United States for its “democracy export”, and gained worldwide attention when he spoke about “illiberal democracy”, a notion that he apparently supports.

He said yesterday that the new political era that is dawning raises questions about whether Europe and the European Union can adapt to it, adding that the situation is complex and difficult, and needs an honest and open debate. 

According to Orbán, many European leaders do not accept the need for European politics based on a new geopolitical approach, kormany.hu reported. The core principle of this form of politics will be that “whatever exists is possible”, according to him. Instead of learning from the economic success of China and other Asian countries, Orbán said, Europe keeps deceiving itself that their success is merely transitory, that it has no foundations, and is therefore not possible, kormany.hu reported.

Let’s ‘make Europe great again’

Orbán said that despite things going in a “bad direction”, the possibility for reform exists, which could “make Europe great again”, kormany.hu reported, an uncanny echo of Trump’s campaign motto “make America great again”.

Orbán tagged Trump’s election as a “decisive element in world politics”, adding that the time has arrived to take the new U.S. president seriously, according to reports. Orbán’s positive and hopeful attitude towards the Trump administration is understandable; in the past eight years, the United States has expressed many criticisms of the Hungarian government, raising concerns over matters of transparency, freedom of media, and recently its stance on civil societies. The Trump administration is widely expected to be more friendly to the Orbán government than the Obama administration was.

Yesterday, Orbán once again praised Trump for his inauguration speech about putting America first. According to Orbán, Trump’s statement in relation to the U.S. policy was “historic”. Trump said in the speech: “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first”. Orbán believes the essence of the statement is that all nations can put their own interests ahead of others, according to kormany.hu. Trump’s statement clearly rings a bell with what Orbán calls a “patriotic” approach to Hungarian politics, although others call it “nationalist”. Orbán said that Trump’s “America first” statement is “good news”, adding that the era of “multilateral relations” will come to an end.

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