By protecting its southern border, Hungary also protects Austria’s border, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said after talks with Vice-Chancellor of Austria Heinz-Christian Strache. It took Strache and his Freedom Party for Austria to adopt an anti-migration stance and demonstrate sympathy for Hungary’s border protection efforts, Orbán told a joint press conference after the meeting with Strache, who also leads the Freedom Party (FPO). The previous, left-wing government in Austria did everything in its power to prevent Hungary from building its border fence but everything changed with the right-wing government, he said. Changes are needed in Europe similar to those in Austria, Orbán added. If Austria’s centre-right ruling party can work together with a patriotic rightist party then this should be possible elsewhere in Europe, he said, adding that what works in Vienna could also work in Brussels. Orbán described the European left-wing as “hopelessly pro-migration” and said if the centre-right parties were to work together with the left wing then sooner or later they would be forced to make a compromise. “Instead of a European grand coalition we intend to keep on the agenda the possibility of opening to the right,” he said.
There was general agreement at the meeting that Christian culture must be given priority, because respect for women, the freedom of speech and religion, and the equality of voting rights can only be maintained in a Christian cultural environment, Orbán said.
He also said they were in agreement that Hungarian-Austrian bilateral relations were orderly and successful. He added that he expected further cooperation between Hungary and Austria, describing them as two countries with successful economies. The European left has an economic programme involving tax increases, bureaucracy and growing debt, which is essentially “a socialist system” that Hungary has already experienced and “would not like to see Brussels experiment with”, Orbán said.
On the subject of the renegotiation of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, Orbán said he would welcome “opening up the question of the treaty if we were able”, adding that “we’re forced into the treaty currently in effect”.
Asked about Hungarian-Austrian cooperation, he said that although the two countries had some opposing interests, they could be managed “with good will and strength of spirit”. Orbán said he was certain that Hungary and Austria could find solutions to all their disagreements. He said that on the issue of Austria’s decision to cut family benefits for foreigners working in the country, they had decided not to address the matter until the European Court of Justice has reached its verdict.
Orbán also said Fidesz was keeping track of which parties and politicians stood up for Hungary “whenever the European left launches an attack against Hungary”. The prime minister said the FPO had clearly stood up for his country, adding that “we won’t forget this.”