Orban dismisses criticism over controversial speech


Central Europe


Photo AFP, Alex Halada

Hungary’s Prime Minister Orban dismissed criticism of his racist statements during his visit to neighbouring Austria. Meanwhile, a close advisor resigned because of what she described as a “Nazi speech worthy of Goebbels”.

The conservative Orban delivered a speech in Romania on Saturday to the Hungarian minority there against “racial mixing” with non-Europeans, rejecting a “multi-ethnic” society. “We are willing to mix with one another, but we do not want to become peoples of mixed race,” he said.

During his speech, the Hungarian leader also appeared to refer to the Nazi gas chambers in World War Two when he criticised the EU’s plan to cut gas demand by 15% by pointing out that “the past shows us German know-how on that”.

According to Orban, his words are to be understood culturally. When it comes to fighting anti-Semitism and racism, Hungary can be “proud of its achievements”. According to Orban, there is “zero tolerance” legally and politically.

Orban’s spokesman, Zoltan Kovacs, said the mainstream media was “hyperventilating about a couple of tough lines about immigration and assimilation” but had stayed silent on the speech’s main points. This reports the BBC.

The speech recently led to a storm of criticism at home and abroad. The International Auschwitz Committee of Holocaust survivors called the speech “stupid and dangerous”. Zsuzsa Hegedus, a member of Orban’s inner circle described the speech as a “pure Nazi text”. “I don’t know how you didn’t notice that the speech you delivered is a purely Nazi diatribe worthy of Joseph Goebbels”, she wrote in her resignation letter, according to the Hungarian hvg.hu news website. Goebbels was the head of Adolf Hitler’s propaganda ministry.



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