Wednesday

20th Nov 2019

Orban: EU needs 'strong' leaders, not institutions

  • Orban: 'Personal leadership isn’t respected in Europe' (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Viktor Orban, the Hungarian PM, has said only “strong” leaders, not institutions, can create stability in Europe.

Speaking at Globsec, a security event in Bratislava, on Friday (19 June), he said: “We were educated, over the past one or two decades, that leadership means institutions … that the job of a leader is to manage the work of institutions”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

“But when you’re in trouble … you need personal leadership, and personal leadership isn’t respected in Europe. It’s rather considered as a danger”.

He added that Europe’s big challenges - the Greece crisis, migration, Russia - need “strong leadership, even a personal one, and this leadership should be stable. Stability of leadership is the key to financial stability in Europe in future”.

His remarks come amid increasing EU concern over his authoritarian style.

In five years in power, he has extended political control over Hungarian courts, clamped down on NGOs, and tried to gag free media.

He has also voiced disregard for EU institutions and laws.

He recently told the European Parliament and the centre-right EPP group that EU treaties shouldn’t stop him from imposing the death penalty.

His rejection of European Commission ideas on migrants is linked to his views on leadership.

Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia, in the margins of Globsec, signed a memo saying No to Commission proposals on asylum-seeker quotas.

They said one reason is because the Commission went against EU leaders, who decided, in April, on a voluntary scheme.

Meanwhile, Orban made light of Commission criticism of his anti-migrant fence.

He said national leaders, not EU institutions, are responsible for borders.

“Borders must be secure. They must be defended by the state. Full stop”, he noted.

“You can’t wait for a European solution … maybe they [EU institutions] will send you some money one day, maybe not. I don’t believe in a European solution”.

He added that foreigners are a threat to Hungary's identity.

“Big countries don’t understand us because they don’t have this feeling of danger. If you have 60 or 80 million people, instead of 10 million, there’s no danger, but for us it [migration] means there’s no more Hungarian world”, he said.

“We have a situation in which we’re saying: ‘Would the last Hungarian please switch off the light’.”

Referring to his country's ageing population, he said he wants a “biological” solution - for Hungarian couples to “have more kids” -- instead of migrant workers.

He defended his own record by noting the Hungarian economy grew more than three percent last year.

He said he did it by cutting welfare, but also by relaxing taxes, such as corporate tax and inheritance tax.

He said his model is “not a very 'fair' society - it’s a work-based society”.

“It’s hard to define. People ask: ‘What the hell is it?’ ... It’s like pornography. No one can define it, but everybody knows it when they see it”.

Orban gives Putin warm welcome

Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban on Tuesday became the first EU leader to receive Russian president Vladimir Putin for a bilateral visit since last June.

New commissioners clear 'conflict of interests' hurdle

The parliament's legal affairs committee narrowly gave the green light to France's Thierry Breton - with some MEPs critical of the candidate's links to IT firm Atos. Meanwhile, Brussels still waits for a UK commissioner.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary, Poland block EU conclusions on rule of law
  2. France: wide EU backing for enlargement change
  3. EU Council calls for policy action to protect marine life
  4. ECJ: Poland's judicial independence in doubt
  5. Suspected 'middleman' in Caruana Galizia case arrested
  6. European populists more favourable to Russia
  7. Hungary's new commissioner approved by MEPs
  8. Balkan coal power plants fail to meet emissions targets

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Column

Why the EU can't do security and defence

What if the EU can't guarantee European security? In times when US physical presence does not make up for its mental absence, the question got urgent.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us