23rd Mar 2018

Hungarian PM backs Trump, amid anti-EU rhetoric

  • Trump criticised the EU, suggested that the US will not protect its allies within Nato and might leave the WTO (Photo: Matt Johnson)

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban has come out as the first EU leader to support US presidential candidate Donald Trump, citing his proposals on security and immigration.

“I’m not part of Donald Trump’s campaign. I’d never have thought it would occur to me that [Trump] would be the best choice for Europe and for Hungary”, Orban said in a speech at a university fair in Baile Tusnad, in Romania, on Saturday (23 July).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“But I listened to the candidate and I must tell you he made three proposals to combat terrorism. As a European, I could have hardly articulated better what Europe needs.”

Orban said he agreed with Trump on boosting intelligence gathering to stop radical Islam.

He said Trump was right to promise no more “regime change” overseas, with both men blaming Western action for creating instability in Libya, Egypt and Syria,

“This valiant American presidential candidate called for an end to the policy of exporting democracy, I could not have said it better myself," Orban said.

Trump has also called for a wall to be built on the US border with Mexico to stop irregular immigration, while Orban built a 175 km border fence along its southern frontier last year.

The controversial Republican Party candidate, in other remarks, has said the US might not defend its Nato allies in Europe unless they increase defence spending.

He said the US might withdraw from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if it tried to stop his plan to use tariffs to bring factories back to the US from Mexico.

He also criticised the EU on Sunday, claiming that the bloc was created to “beat the United States when it comes to making money”.

Orban did not directly address Trump’s Nato comment but, in a change to his own prior position, he said he would support the creation of an EU army.

Orban and Trump are both known for their populist, anti-elite rhetoric and their rejection of what they called political correctness.

They have depicted Muslim immigration as a threat to Western lifestyles and values and blamed terror attacks on uncontrolled migration.

But Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, has previously criticised Orban's domestic policies.

As secretary of state, Clinton warned Orban against the “systematic dismantling” of democratic institutions in Hungary since his Fidesz party took power six years ago.

Global player no more

Orban, in his university speech, also said the UK leaving the bloc meant that the EU is no longer a global, but a regional player.

He said the British vote to leave the EU represented the failure of Europe’s political elite.

“The EU is incapable of defending its own citizens, its own external borders and it is unable to hold its community together, as the United Kingdom’s exit has shown,” Orban said.

“What else is needed to say that Europe’s current political leadership has failed?”.

Orban said nation states in Europe should retain more authority to make their own decisions on specific issues, such as migration.

“We have to make it clear that our problem is not in Mecca, but in Brussels,” Orban said, according to the AP news agency.

“The bureaucrats in Brussels are an obstacle for us, not Islam.”

Trump’s European allies

Orban was not the only European politician to hail Trump.

Geert Wilders, a popular Dutch far right politician, has praised Trump for his criticism of Muslim immigration.

“Angry people have become the middle of the political spectrum,” Wilders was quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal after he attended the Republican presidential convention in Cleveland last week.

He again called for the Netherlands to leave the EU, saying that the bloc is crumbling due top its policies of open borders and its ideology of cultural relativism.

Other European right-wing politicians were less impressed with the Republican candidate, however.

The UK’s Nigel Farage, who advocated for his country to leave the EU and who also attended the Republican convention last week, said he felt “very uncomfortable” about Trump’s anti-Muslim language.

Farage himself has been blamed for using racist language and imagery in his Brexit campaign.

He now said he liked Trump's “daring” anti-establishment message, but distanced himself from the Republican nominee's comments on Muslims.

"I think that what [Trump] said about Muslims, and we've got other politicians in Europe doing the same, if we're labelling a whole section of our community effectively bad, that is not the way forward," he told the Sky News TV broadcasters.

“Occasionally, the style of it, it makes even me wince a little”, he said.

Farage resigns: 'I want my life back'

The prominent vote Leave campaigner and anti-EU MEP already resigned Ukip top job three times before. This time it is final, he said.


Nato summit forges united front on Putin

Nato's weekend summit was "not so pleasant” for “Mr Putin”, Lithuania said, but the event also exposed Poland's bitter divisions.

Hungary steps up campaign on migration referendum

Hungary's government has unveiled six billboards linking the migration crisis to terrorism and crime in an effort to win backing for its referendum on the EU's migration policy.


The populists may have won, but Italy won't leave the euro

The situation as Rome tries to form a government is turbulent and unpredictable. However, the most extreme eurosceptic policies floated during the election campaign are unlikely to happen - not least due to the precarious state of the Italian banks.


Why has central Europe turned so eurosceptic?

Faced with poorer infrastructure, dual food standards and what can seem like hectoring from western Europe it is not surprising some central and eastern European member states are rebelling.

News in Brief

  1. EU will be exempted from tariffs, says US minister
  2. Malmstroem: EU 'hopes' for US tariffs exemption
  3. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says
  4. Italy's centre-right set to share top posts with 5-star movement
  5. Brussels condemns tear gas in Kosovo parliament
  6. Finland pays billionaire €400,000 in EU farm subsidies
  7. 44 leaders sign up for Africa free trade area deal
  8. British 'blue' passports to be made in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU summit takes hard look at Russia
  2. Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing
  3. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  4. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  5. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  6. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  7. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  8. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  2. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  3. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework
  4. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  5. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  7. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  8. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections