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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview to public radio that the people who attack Hungary for granting asylum to former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski were “identical” to those people and organisations that support migration. The organisations most critical of the Hungarian government regarding the case are all in the pocket of US billionaire George Soros, he said. Since Gruevski, as prime minister, took tough action against Soros networks in Macedonia, “they are keeping track of his life”, he added. Gruevski headed a country that played a key role in combatting migration, and without him it would have been far harder to protect the Hungarian border, Orbán said. So he and his country have always been viewed as Hungary’s allies, he added. He was the first politician in the Balkans who built a fence and stopped migrants, for which Hungary also granted help, Orbán said.

“Allies should be treated with decency, and when they turn to us, they deserve due process,” he said, adding that he was “pleased” this was not the first time that a former leader had thought that in Hungary they would get fair treatment. The asylum procedure is not carried out by the government but the authorities and “the more distance the government keeps to such procedures the better,” he said. The government’s job is to ensure the framework for a fair procedure and then accept the decision made by the authorities, “which is what happened in this case, too”, he added. Commenting on Gruevski’s travel arrangements to Hungary, the PM said: “The whole thing had an exciting storyline … and every crime story is exciting”. “We are not influenced by the procedures in Macedonia,” he said. “What we are interested in is whether the request submitted to us is legally well-founded, whether the authorities carried out a fair procedure and acted lawfully. Once a decision is made, it must be respected,” Orbán said. Commenting on the extradition request submitted by Macedonia, he said Macedonia must also follow a legal procedure. The Hungarian authorities will assess it and come to a decision, he added.