Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been named ‘Man of the Year’ at an economic conference in the Polish city of Krynica for his tough stance on mass migration.
The Krynica Economic Forum’s ‘Man of the Year’ award is a highly prestigious affair for Central European nations and is more often than not awarded to Polish nationals.
Last year the award was given to former Polish Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński, who now leads the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), and was even given to former Polish Pope John Paul II.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was this year’s recipient as the forum congratulated him for his service to Central Europe, the Warsaw Business Journal reports.
Upon accepting the award, Prime Minister Orbán commented on the relations of Hungary and Poland who have been united against the mass migration policies of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Through the Visegrad group, which also includes the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the two countries have provided a bulwark against the European Union’s proposal to redistribute the well over a million migrants who entered the political bloc in the last year.
Mr. Orbán said that he hoped the group would continue to push for change within the EU in the aftermath of the Brexit vote in June.
“Trust between Poles and Hungarians is far-reaching, going much further than just politics. This encourages us to cooperate,” Mr. Orbán said, adding: “The extent to which there is trust between our two countries, two nations, two governments, is exceptional. It is without parallel.”
The Hungarian Prime Minister humbly accepted the award saying, “Among the Visegrad 4 leaders there are many excellent colleagues who could be named the ‘Man of the Year’”, and then joked, “Undoubtedly though I am the oldest of them.”
Mr. Orbán took the time to reiterate why he had such a tough stance on mass migration during the migrant crisis telling the audience at the event: “I am certain that the matter I represent is nothing else than that the Central European nations must retain their identity, the historical, religious and national identity.”
Hungary looks to further increase their opposition to the mass migrant policies of Germany and the European Union in October when the government will take the question of receiving more asylum seekers to the general public via a referendum.
Current polls suggest that the population overwhelmingly agrees with the tough stance on migration, and few expect the Prime Minister to be rebuked by the public.
The referendum result could spark even more interest from disaffected Western Europeans who have been emigrating to Hungary in droves due to the rapidly deteriorating situation in countries like Germany and Austria due to the migrant crisis.