Saturday

17th Nov 2018

Orban wants to build 'illiberal state'

  • Viktor Orban's Fidesz party is a member of the centre-right EPP pan-European political family (Photo: European People's Party)

Hungary leader Viktor Orban has said he wants to build an illiberal state based on national foundations, citing Russia and China as examples.

Speaking at a retreat of ethnic Hungarian leaders in Baile Tusnad, Romania, on Saturday (26 July) the right wing leader said that the 2008 financial crisis triggered changes as significant as the two world wars and as those in 1990, the year of transition in Eastern and Central 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

The experience of the financial crisis showed that “liberal democratic states cannot remain globally competitive.”

“I don’t think that our European Union membership precludes us from building an illiberal new state based on national foundations," he said, according to Bloomberg.

Orban said that there is a race in the world now on how best to organise the state to make nations successful.

"Today, the world tries to understand systems which are not Western, not liberal, maybe not even democracies yet they are successful" he said, and mentioned Singapore, China, India, Russia and Turkey as examples.

Orban, who has a two-thirds majority in the Hungarian parliament, said he is seeking to find the best way to organise the Hungarian state to make it more competitive and that it was time to break with liberal principles and methods of social organisation.

He said that these efforts were being obstructed by civil society groups and that NGO workers are political activists representing foreign interests.

Budapest recently got into a political dispute with Norway after the Hungarian authorities raided the offices of NGOs involved in administrating aid from the Nordic country. Orban's goverment had accused the Norwegian Fund of supporting opposition political groups.

Orban's speech, which is on the government website, is likely to raise eyebrows in Brussels which has had several clashes with him over changes he has made to tighten the control over the judiciary and press.

Neelie Kroes, EU digital agenda commissioner, on Monday (28 July) once agan hit out at Budapest saying that media freedom "still very much under threat" in Hungary.

Orban, who was elected for a second four-year in term in April, has also attracted criticism from some quarters in the EU for cultivating ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with Moscow recently lending Budapest €10bn to build a nuclear plant.

Illustrating his thinking on democracy, Orban noted how US president Barack Obama could be impeached by Congress for encroaching on its power.

“What do you think, how long could I stay in office?" he asked, in reference to the US system.

Focus

Hungary's Orban wins another term, Jobbik support jumps

Hungary's centre-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban was handed another four years in government after national elections on Sunday, early results show, while the far-right Jobbik scooped a fifth of the votes.

Hungary raids Norway-backed NGOs

Hungary has been accused of moving away from EU democratic values following a raid on two NGOs earlier this week.

US diplomat lashes out at Hungary's Orban

Victoria Nuland, the US' top diplomat on Europe, has indirectly criticised Hungarian leader Viktor Orban for the “cancer” of “democratic backsliding”.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Opinion

On Armistice Day, EU is still best gift we can give our children

While young people fought each other in 1918, young people in 2018 travel to study together under the Erasmus programme. But there is a risk of limiting our commemoration to representing the past through just speeches, museum exhibits and visits.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us