Thursday

21st Feb 2019

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”.

Opinion

Italy will keep blinking in 2019

Italy's 'marriage of convenience' coalition government likes picking battles with Brussels. But with the economy now in recession, and deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini needing to keep the business lobby on board, expect Rome to blink first.

Opinion

The test for Sweden's new government

While the formation of a new government ends Sweden's fourth-month paralysis, it doesn't resolve the challenge from radical-right populists in Sweden. A key question remains: will treating populists like pariahs undercut the appeal of their, often anti-rights, politics?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. EU commission appeals Dieselgate ruling
  2. 'No burning crisis' on migrant arrivals, EU agency says
  3. 'No evidence' ECB bond-buying helped euro economy
  4. Juncker: Orban should leave Europe's centre-right
  5. College of Europe alumni ask rector to cut Saudi ties
  6. EU says Hungary's anti-Juncker campaign is fake news
  7. Trump right for once: Europe should take back foreign fighters
  8. EU should clarify rules for plant burgers and lab meat

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us