Peter Foster, the newspaper’s Europe Editor, interviewed the Hungarian prime minister during his recent visit to London. The interview was published in the online edition of the newspaper on Saturday morning.
In answer to a question concerning the outcome of the US presidential election, Mr. Orbán said that the victory of Republican candidate Donald Trump means that reality has broken through ideology.
Mr. Orbán told the British newspaper that “on a philosophical-ideological level our feeling is that we are living in a ‘liberal non-democracy’ system in the Western world, and it’s over. That ideology which created its own language of political correctness – created a grey, uniform approach to all the questions – now it is over”.
The journalist repeated an earlier statement by Mr. Orbán, in which he had said that the election of Mr. Trump would be good for Hungary and good for Europe. When asked whether he still holds this opinion, the Prime Minister said that he feels this more strongly than ever.
He added that Mr. Trump takes a very clear stand against illegal immigration.
“If well-settled states don’t make clear where the limits are and what kind of practices are acceptable, and which are not, that could destabilise the Western world, and we don’t need that”, the Prime Minister said, adding that he thinks that in this respect Donald Trump is better for Hungary and better for Europe.
Responding to the observation that EU leaders have accused him of not subscribing to the values of the European Union, Mr. Orbán replied that the question is how one defines European values.
“If you define European values as an alliance of sovereign states, then we are very much strengthening the values of the European Union, because law and order is a European value – law and order belonging to sovereign states – and this is the precondition of fulfilling international requirements and duties – like Schengen”, he said.
“So we are the good Europeans, and we defend Europe, not just at the levels of values, but at the levels of reality when we defend Schengen borders, as it is written in the Schengen treaty”, Mr. Orbán stated.
He added, however, that it is also true that Hungary is not satisfied with what is happening in Brussels.
The Prime Minister said that “in that sense my government is a kind of opposition in Brussels, but it is a reforming opposition, not a destroying opposition”.
He pointed out that seventy per cent of Hungarians favour remaining in the EU – meaning that Hungary is one of the most pro-European of EU nations.
When asked whether he would approve of Mr. Trump seeking to consolidate relations with Russia, as he promised in his campaign, and whether he would welcome the lifting of sanctions on Russia, Mr. Orbán said that Hungary has never supported the sanctions policy.
“We have always clearly said that we disagree on the content of that policy. But unity [of the EU] is more important, therefore we accepted [that policy]”, he added.
Mr. Orbán said that the unpredictable, disintegrating Russia during the Yeltsin era was more dangerous than the present Russia under Vladimir Putin.
The Prime Minister stated that westerners expect Russia to build its political system on the same political culture as that in the West. The Hungarian approach, however, is that we have to take Russia as it is, “not as it is in our dreams”, he said.
Regarding the end of the UK’s EU membership, the Prime Minister said that the British are strategic partners on many issues in the EU, and so the EU is weaker now than it was.
Hungary is saddened by this, “but at the same time I think there is obviously a life outside the European Union, and if a sovereign nation is so brave as to make that decision, then we wish them good luck”, the Hungarian prime minister said.
(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)