Cyprus Mail

Orban says no to ‘United States of Europe’

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Tuesday his landslide re-election had given him a powerful mandate to restrict migrant rights and seek a European Union of independent nations rather than a “United States of Europe”.

The right-wing nationalist leader, whose resounding victory on Sunday sent shockwaves through opposition parties, also said he planned to revamp his government. “I will set up a new government, in a large part with new people and a new structure,” he said, without going into detail.

Orban won a third straight term in power in Sunday elections after his anti-immigration campaign message solidified a strong majority for his party in parliament, granting him two-thirds of the seats based on preliminary results.

“We have received a strong mandate,” the 54-year-old premier told his first news conference since his election triumph, which has triggered the resignation of Gabor Vona, leader of the main opposition Jobbik party in parliament.

“The Hungarian people have defined the most important issues: these are the question of immigration and national sovereignty,” Orban said.

“It is entirely clear …from the election result that Hungarians have decided that only they can decide with whom they want to live in Hungary, and the government will stick to this position.”

Fidesz signalled on Monday it could push on with legislation to crack down on organisations promoting migrant rights as soon as parliament reconvenes.

The government’s “Stop Soros” bill submitted to parliament before the election would impose a 25 per cent tax on foreign donations to NGOs that the government says back migration in Hungary. “Stop Soros” refers to Hungarian-born US billionaire George Soros, whose funding of liberal democratic, open-border causes in Europe has made him a major adversary of Orban.

“The election in my view also … decided that the Hungarian government must stand up for a Europe of nations and not for a ‘United States of Europe’,” said Orban, an opponent of deeper integration within the European Union.

Orban added that he would cultivate deeper relations with nationalist-ruled Poland and the conservative German region of Bavaria in his new term in office because of their direct support for his re-election bid.

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