Thursday

20th Sep 2018

Magazine

'Dictator' vindicated

"Immigration is a bad thing. We shouldn't view it as if it had any use because it only brings problems and peril to Europeans and so it must be stopped."

When Viktor Orban, Hungary's maverick prime minister, took the opportunity to demonise migrants in the wake of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris, few thought he had set the stage for the discourse on a refugee crisis just emerging in Europe.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • At the end of 2015, Orban seems more indomitable than ever. (Photo: EPP)

In January, those comments raised eyebrows. By the end of the year, politicians from all over Europe echoed Orban's sentiments.

His early call for tougher external border control, his strategy to build fences to channel the arrival of migrants, and thus passing on the crisis to neighboring countries, were either criticised or ignored at first.

But as the numbers grew and voters in Europe increasingly became anxious, border control became a priority and fences were mulled and subsequently built on the migration route.

Stopping Jobbik

Despite Orban's combatant rhetoric to protect the EU's external Schengen borders and the bloc's asylum rules by registering migrants, Hungary did transport tens of thousands of people to Austria before all of its fences were erected.

And Orban's tough rhetoric and measures on refugees also served to prevent the far-right Jobbik, Hungary's second largest party, from luring his voters away.

Yet 2015 marked an unlikely vindication for Orban, whose autocratic governing style drew criticism for years, but is now hailed for his foresight.

Challenging political correctness and the liberal political consensus in Europe, Orban's controversial right-wing politics are pulling Europe's mainstream conservatives along with him.

Years of EU criticism of Orban abusing his majority to bend rules his way, has boiled down to a quip by EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who welcomed Orban at a summit with a salute: "Hello, dictator!"

At the end of 2015, Orban seems more indomitable than ever.

This story was originally published in EUobserver's 2015 Europe in Review Magazine.

Click here to read previous editions of Europe in Review magazines.

Magazine

Europe in Review 2014

EUobserver, in its second annual review, looks back at the main events of 2014: Russia's annexation of Ukraine; the selection of the EU's new top cadre; separatism in Europe and more. Order your copy here.

Magazine

Macron: Hegelian hero of EU history?

The election of the 39-year old newcomer injected new hope and dynamism. But the French president still has to find solid allies in the EU and deliver his ambitious agenda at home.

Magazine

In 2018, make Europe great again!

Is the EU back on track to make Europe great again? The fifth edition of EUobserver's Europe in Review magazine looks at the biggest events that shaped the EU in 2017 and prospects for 2018.

News in Brief

  1. Greece to move asylum-seekers from overcrowded Lesbos camp
  2. Transatlantic soya trade soars due to trade wars
  3. EU tables strategy for connecting Europe and Asia
  4. Bulgaria backs Hungary in dispute with EU
  5. Trump urged Spain to build Sahara wall to stop migrants
  6. EU-Arab League summit proposed for February in Egypt
  7. Stop 'migration blame-game', Tusk tells EU leaders
  8. McDonald's Luxembourg tax deal 'compatible' with EU rules

Magazine

In 2018, make Europe great again!

Is the EU back on track to make Europe great again? The fifth edition of EUobserver's Europe in Review magazine looks at the biggest events that shaped the EU in 2017 and prospects for 2018.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  4. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  5. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  6. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  7. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  8. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  9. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  10. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want

Latest News

  1. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner
  2. EU mulls action to prevent cattle suffering at Turkish border
  3. Safeguarding Schengen at Salzburg
  4. Denmark's image 'damaged' by bank scandal
  5. Real Brexit progress needed by October, Barnier says
  6. Poland to face EU top court on rule of law
  7. Austria's EU presidency: a bridge over troubled water?
  8. EU promotes 'Egypt model' to reduce migrant numbers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us