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Hungary’s Orban wants anti-migration forces to control EU

By Pablo Gorondi/ January 10, 2019 Budapest, Hungary (AP) —

Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orban said Thursday he wants “anti-immigration forces” to become a majority in all European Union institutions, including Parliament and the EU’s executive Commission.

Speaking about the upcoming European Parliament elections, Orban predicted that there would be two civilizations in Europe — one “that builds its future on a mixed Islamic and Christian coexistence” and another in Central Europe that would be only Christian.

“In the next 15-20 years, as well, migration will be the most important question of fate on the continent and, within that, Hungary,” said Orban, who won a third consecutive term in April with an electoral campaign based on anti-immigration policies.

Orban also said that he had “great hopes” for budding cooperation between Italy and Poland, both of which oppose immigration, and said he continues to view hard-line Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini as “my own hero.”

Salvini was in Warsaw on Wednesday in an attempt to forge an alliance with Poland’s ruling populists ahead of the European Parliament elections in May, expressing hopes that an “Italian-Polish axis” would replace the current “French-German axis.”

While Salvini said he and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Poland’s ruling party leader, agreed on most issues, Polish officials seemed to signal some reservations at hooking up with Salvini, who is seen in Poland as too friendly to Russia.

Orban also praised Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, saying that currently “the most apt definition of modern Christian democracy can be found in Brazil, not in Europe.”

Orban, who attended Bolsonaro’s inauguration last week, also highlighted the two leaders’ similar views opposing immigration and said that the issue “has brought closer together like-minded political actors, even if they live on different continents.”

During his news conference Thursday — an infrequent event — Orban deflected questions on corruption, repeating his defense that he does not involve himself with business matters, and refused to address the growing wealth of his friends and family.

Lorinc Meszaros, a childhood friend who until a few years ago worked as a gas fitter, was named last month by the Hungarian edition of Forbes magazine as Hungary’s wealthiest person, with an estimated fortune of over $1.3 billion.

Several independent Hungarian media outlets — including weekly publication Magyar Hang, broadcaster Klubradio, investigative journalism site Direkt36.hu and news site Merce.hu — said their accreditation to the news conference was rejected, with the government citing a lack of space at the venue. _

AP correspondent Vanessa Gera in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.


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