The Economist: Orbán could ‘undermine’ Merkel’s ‘stature’

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Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Minister-President of Bavaria Horst Seehofer are “two more of Europe’s many difficult men” who “threaten to undermine” Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “stature”, The Economist said in a report posted on its website today.

Viktor Orbán is "the illiberal Hungarian prime minister whose answer to the refugees has been barbed-wire fences. Speaking for several eastern members of the EU, he has called Merkel’s welcome of the refugees ‘moral imperialism’,” The Economist writes in its report. “That a nationalist demagogue should cause trouble is hardly a shock,” The Economist says in reference to Orbánʼs attitude towards Merkel.

Seehofer, the leader of Christian Social Union (CSU), which is the regional sister party of Merkel’s national Christian Democratic Union (CDU), earlier called Merkel’s embrace of refugees a “big mistake”, The Economist reports. Seehofer also invited Orbán to a "CSU gathering as guest speaker and smiled smugly as the Hungarian railed against the chancellor”, The Economist added.

The Hungarian government has been maintaining an anti-immigrant rhetoric since the influx of refugees to the European Union increased dramatically at the beginning of this year. Hungary sealed off its entire border with both Croatia and Serbia, and the country is now being bypassed by refugees arriving on the continent. Commenting on this, Orbán said last week that Hungary entered “a new time zone” and when EU members discuss possible solutions for the “migrant crisis” Hungary “does not understand it” anymore.

Speaking at a demographic forum yesterday, the prime minister once again emphasized that the future of Europe, which is demographically growing old, lies in establishing families and encouraging people to have children rather than welcoming “immigrants”.

Orbán is a strong opponent of the EU’s quota system, claiming that it only encourages “migrants” to come to the continent, thereby threatening the foundation of “Christian Europe”, as “migrants” have different values, cultural backgrounds and religions.

Although the EU approved the quota system – or a process of  “voluntary” distribution of refugees – the Hungarian Parliament on November 3 instigated a legal battle with the European Union by approving a resolution that would reject an EU plan to introduce a quota system to distribute refugees among member states.

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