Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban yesterday arrived in neighboring Austria for a one-day visit after sparking a storm of criticism with comments against creating “peoples of mixed race.”
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer vowed to discuss the row with Orban, saying the Hungarian leader’s comments on Saturday were “of course to be criticized.”
“Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t shy away from direct dialogue,” Nehammer said on Wednesday.
The International Auschwitz Committee has urged the EU — and Nehammer specifically — to distance themselves from “Orban’s racist undertones.”
Austria is the first EU country to host Orban for talks since he won a fourth straight mandate in an April landslide.
“Hungary is an important neighbor and partner for us, both countries are severely affected by irregular migration, which we want to fight together,” the conservative Nehammer wrote on Twitter last week before Orban’s latest controversy.
Vienna sees itself “as an honest broker” and is anxious not to sideline Hungary, an Austrian official said on condition of anonymity.
Jewish community representatives voiced alarm after Orban criticized mixing with “non-Europeans” in a speech in Romania’s Transylvania region, home to a Hungarian community.
Orban said in his speech that countries with large-scale migration from outside of Europe “are no longer nations.”
“There is a world in which European peoples are mixed together with those arriving from outside Europe,” he said. “Now, that is a mixed-race world.”
In what he described as “our world,” Orban said “people from within Europe mix with one another.”
“We are willing to mix with one another, but we do not want to become peoples of mixed race,” he said, adding: “Migration has split Europe in two — or I could say that it has split the West in two.”
“One half is a world where European and non-European peoples live together. These countries are no longer nations: They are nothing more than a conglomeration of peoples,” he said.
Orban also seemed to allude to the Nazi German gas chambers when criticizing a Brussels plan to reduce European gas demand by 15 percent following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Hungary was the only EU member to oppose the plan, which passed on a majority vote this week.
On Tuesday, an adviser to Orban, Zsuzsa Hegedus, resigned, slamming his speech as “a pure Nazi text.”
“I am sincerely sorry that I have to end a relationship due to such a shameful position,” Hegedus, who worked with Orban for 20 years, said in her resignation letter published by Hungarian media. “I was left with no other choice.”
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