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Orbán: Europe Locked in ‘Culture War’, But ‘Cultural Peace’ Reigns in Hungary

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrives at the Mozarteum University to attend a plenary session part of the EU Informal Summit of Heads of State or Government in Salzburg, Austria, on September 20, 2018. (Photo by GEORG HOCHMUTH / APA / AFP) / Austria OUT (Photo credit should read GEORG …
GEORG HOCHMUTH/AFP/Getty

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said that the “culture war” is not being fought on Hungary, but it being fought in Europe which is succumbing to a “creeping” cultural surrender.

Addressing the audience at a ceremony to celebrate the revamp of the Budai Vigadó, which houses the country’s heritage museum, Prime Minister Orbán remarked that though he “hear[d] that there’s a culture war going on in Hungary”, he believes the central European country is rather existing in a state of “culture peace”.

The Hungarian leader warned of a “creeping pan-European cultural self-renunciation”, and argued that if the continent’s cultural foundations disappeared, Europe would “collapse like a house of cards”.

And while Europeans and Hungarians respect other cultures, he vowed that “no-one can force us to take this as the relinquishment of our own culture and submission to another culture.”

“So we’ll stand up and declare who we are and our beliefs about God, the homeland, and family, and the impact Hungarians believe this has on European life,” he added.

The popular conservative statesman, who won his third consecutive term in office in April with a parliamentary supermajority, pledged earlier in the year to enact a “major family policy action plan” to make the country family-friendly and support Hungarians to have children — rather than follow the lead of Western European nations that have welcomed mass migration to solve the supposed demographic time bomb of an ageing Europe.

The Prime Minister has also been vocal on rejecting so-called progressive values, vowing in his third-term inaugural speech to build a new “21st-century Christian democracy”.

“Rather than try to fix a ‘liberal’ democracy that has run aground, we will build a 21st-century Christian democracy which guarantees human dignity, freedom, and security, protects the equal rights of men and women, the model of the traditional family, puts the brakes on anti-Semitism, protects our Christian culture, and provides opportunity for the maintenance and development of our nation,” he said in May.

Last month, the parliament of the European Union voted to trigger Article 7 proceedings against Hungary for allegedly breaching “EU values” after the Hungarian Fidesz-led government made good on voter-backed campaign pledges to criminalise activities aiding illegal immigration, and continuing resistance to EU migrant redistribution quotas imposed by the bloc.

Despite facing possible sanctions, including losing EU voting rights, a study released on Monday revealed that his Fidesz-KDNP alliance is more popular than the entire opposition combined, both in terms of voting intentions for national elections and European Parliament elections.

With European elections set for May 2019, the conservative leader has speculated that following European citizens electing populist and right-wing parties at national polls in Sweden, Austria, Italy, and the Czech Republic in the past year, the makeup of the European Parliament will likely change, too — with this projection being backed up by analysis from Reuters.

While Mr Orbán joins forces with Italy’s populist Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini to form an anti-mass migration front in the EU elections, progressive French president Emmanuel Macron has already begun moving his pieces into place to defend globalism.

President Macron is taking his En Marche! party cross-continental after kicking off election campaigns in Germany this week, using his network to sound a battle cry against populism in countries across the bloc.

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