Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said yesterday that Europe’s ‘migrant invasion’ represents as unprecedented challenge that “could crush and bury under itself the form of existence we have known up to now.”
Mr Orbán was addressing the opening ceremony of the World Science Forum (WSF), a four day international science policy conference being held this week in Budapest. He told delegates from over 100 countries “we are living in crazy, interesting times” but suggested Europe lacks sufficient strength, knowledge and means to continue the ordinary course of life. Instead, he said, the continent is undergoing a crisis of confidence that leaves it vulnerable to what he sees as a migrant invasion.
Whereas some may feel a gathering of the world’s scientists is an odd place to give an immigration speech, Mr Orbán saw the meeting promoting links between science and society as an opportunity. He told those gathered in the Ceremonial Hall of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences that they must come together to look for new openings arising from new challenges.
The firebrand Prime Minister said that when Budapest last hosted the WSF four years earlier, the key topic was the economic crisis and ways in which they could “pull Europe’s cart out of the mud.” Now, according to him, if leading politicians from the West give speeches they are bound to refer to migration. Specifically he said he had no choice by to address the causes, effects and consequences of modern-day mass migration.
Mr Orbán said the world is looking on in astonishment at the way Europe acts under pressure from enormous mass migration, warning: “We must confront a flood of people pouring out of the Middle East.”
On the day before the European Union released official figures predicting three million more migrants could arrive by the end of next year, Mr Orbán described it as one of the largest tides of people in history, a new global mass migration which threatens tragic consequences. However, some groups backed by Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros – who Mr Orbán has persistently attacked – disagree.
The fact that countries neighbouring the likes of Syria and Iraq are worse off than Europe does not, he says, alleviate the feeling that Europe is under invasion. Mr Orbán warned mass migration and cultural change promise to redraw the map of world power – including global economic realignment – the far-reaching consequences of which are likely to include armed conflict.
He concluded that scientists, with their ability to ask new questions and find new answers, represent the type of person needed in politics to prove that despite the challenges we now face the world has not run out of opportunities and solutions.
Pointing out that “we are blindly racing towards an uncertain outcome” from which no good can come, he urged a return to the path of common sense and “the elementary reflexes of self-defence which do not allow the core values of humanity to fall victim to the shocks induced by a world in motion.”