Hungary’s conservative leader Viktor Orban denounced the “mixing” of races in a controversial speech on Saturday that has generated backlash.
Speaking in Romania, the Hungarian prime minister defended his vision of an “unmixed Hungarian race” as he criticized “mixing” with non-Europeans, The Guardian reported.
“We [Hungarians] are not a mixed race, and we do not want to become a mixed race either,” Orban said.
Orban claimed that European countries that have a high level of interracial mixing are “no longer nations.”
The comments are consistent with Orban’s long-standing far-right position on immigration into Hungary. He has regularly campaigned on the promise of building an “illiberal” Hungary based on the “defense of a Christian Europe.”
Alin Mituta, a Romanian member of the European Parliament, responded to Orban’s comments in a tweet, writing that “speaking about race or ethnic ‘purity,’ especially in such a mixed region such as Central and Eastern Europe is purely delusional and dangerous. And so is Mr. Orban.”
Katalin Cseh, a member of Hungary’s Momentum Movement party and also an MEP, came to the defense of Hungarians targeted by Orban’s words, The Guardian reported.
“Your skin color may be different, you may come from Europe or beyond, but you are one of us, and we are proud of you. Diversity strengthens the nation, it doesn’t weaken it,” she tweeted.
Cseh continued: “[Orban’s] statements recall a time I think we would all like to forget. They really show the true colors of the regime.”
In his speech, Orban also criticized the West’s approach to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Orban has sought close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and last week, he said Europe had “shot itself in the lungs” by imposing sanctions against Moscow over the invasion.
On Saturday, Orban described the West’s attempts to end the bloodshed in Eastern Europe as “sitting in a car with four flat tires.”
“A new strategy is needed, which should focus on peace negotiations instead of trying to win the war,” he said.
With Hungary a member of NATO, Orban has found himself in an awkward diplomatic position, seeking to maintain Hungary’s good relations with Russia while NATO supplies Ukraine with advanced weaponry.
“The more modern weapons NATO gives the Ukrainians, the more the Russians will push the frontline forward… What we are doing is prolonging the war,” Orban said.
“We shouldn’t be on Russia’s side, or Ukraine’s side, but between the two.”
Orban, popular with many supporters of US former president Donald Trump, is slated to give the opening address at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, next month.