Friday

24th Mar 2017

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).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

Feature

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.

French candidates avoid EU debate

In their first TV debate, the main candidates for the April election only briefly discussed the country's EU policies, with far-right Le Pen and centrist Macron taking aim at each other.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  2. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  3. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  4. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  5. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  6. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  8. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  9. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  10. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  11. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change
  12. European Free AllianceSupporting Artur Mas: Democracy and Freedom Cannot Be Convicted

Latest News

  1. MEPs urge Juncker not to renew glyphosate licence
  2. Poland and Greece talk tough before Rome summit
  3. Birthday wishes to the European Union
  4. MEPs set out to give posted workers equal pay
  5. Hohe Cyber-Bedrohung für Frankreichs Wahlen
  6. 'No zero terror risk', EU security chief warns
  7. UN could step in where EU fails in child migrant protection
  8. May: London attacker was known to the police

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFSyria Conflict 6 Years On: Children's Suffering at Its Worst
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsDomestic Violence in Tajikistan: Time to Right the Wrongs
  3. European Trust SummitCorporate Strategy and Public Affairs in a Low-Trust World - Conference 31 May
  4. UNICEFNew Law in Hungary on Detention of Migrant Children Raises Alarm
  5. Malta EU 2017Agreement Reached to Involve Consumers in Financial Services Policymaking
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cities Gather Against Violent Extremism & Introduce Nordic Safe Cities
  7. World VisionFears and Dreams of Syria's Children and Their Peers Around the World
  8. Malta EU 2017Maltese Presidency and EP Agree on Visa Liberalisation for Ukraine
  9. Mission of China to the EUEU Window Chinese Government Academic Scholarship 2017/18 - Apply Now
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Lead the Way on Women's Economic Empowerment
  11. Center for Data InnovationBuilding Smart Cities for Tomorrow's Data Economy – 28 March - Brussels