Following a meeting with populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader Norbert Hofer, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said he hopes the next Austrian government would reject political Islam.
The meeting comes only weeks before Austria heads to the polls for a snap election and marks the first meeting between Prime Minister Orbán and Mr Hofer since the latter became the leader of the FPÖ in June.
Ein Treffen unter Freunden. pic.twitter.com/PtG52I7IlN
— Norbert Hofer (@norbertghofer) September 10, 2019
At a press conference in Budapest, Orbán noted that Austria was important to Hungary and a strategic ally, Hungary’s Híradó reports.
He also went on to say that he and the Hungarian government did not want to interfere with the Austrian election saying: “It is up to the Austrian citizens to decide on Austria.”
Orban: Islam and Open Borders Will Divide EU into 'Two Civilisations' https://t.co/PrTyhusf4S
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 12, 2019
“We are committed to co-operation, we agree that both countries are important for the other country, Austria remains extremely important for Hungary,” Orbán said and remarked on the cooperation with the FPÖ while they were part of the previous coalition.
The Hungarian leader went as far as wishing the FPÖ election success and added that he hoped they would once again join the governing coalition.
Mr Hofer joined Orbán in stating that defending Austria and Europe against Islamism was important and spoke of the close economic cooperation between the two countries.
The meeting is the first major foreign event for Hofer since becoming FPÖ leader in June following the Ibiza scandal that forced the previous leader Heinz-Christian Strache, who has also spoken out against Islamism, to resign both as FPÖ leader and as vice-chancellor of Austria.
The knock-on effect of the scandal led to the resignation of all FPÖ ministers from the cabinet and ultimately to the downfall of Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) leader Sebastian Kurz as Austrian chancellor.
The national election is set for Sunday, September 29th, and current polling shows Kurz’s ÖVP with a clear lead with 34 per cent and the FPÖ in third place, nearly tied with the Social Democrats.
Austria, Market poll:
ÖVP-EPP: 34% (-1)
FPÖ-ID: 21% (+1)
GRÜNE-G/EFA: 11% (+1)
NEOS-RE: 9% (-1)
JETZT-G/EFA: 2% (+1)
+/- vs. 2-5 Aug. '19
— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) September 7, 2019