Viktor Orbán defends anti-immigration stance to hostile BBC

In a hostile interview with the BBC outside Downing Street, Viktor Orbán dismissed allegations pumped by the left about his government and the state of democracy in Hungary.

The public broadcaster’s interviewer appeared to be immediately on the attack with his line of questioning to the Hungarian prime minister, asking him about issues raised by the European Union regarding a free press in his home nation and his refusal to toe the pro-immigration line peddled by Eurocrats.

“The independence of the judges in Hungary is one of the best in the European Union,” Orbán hit back, and when again questioned by the BBC interviewer that the European Union doesn’t see it that way, he replied: “It’s a political game. The left is activist. Come to Hungary, see by your eyes. And you can see how we live and how it the press. If you go to Hungarian news stand and you ask for a paper attacking the government you will get a dozen, at least. So it’s free!”

The Hungarian leader was then questioned on allegations fromt he left that his government is anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and anti-immigration.

“In terms of anti-immigraiton, it could be true,” Orbán replied confidently.

The Hungarian leader has been one of Europe’s most vociferous opponents to the decision of the European Union to open its arms to migrants back in 2015, saying back in February: “They believe that they would be awaited here with open arms, they want a European life, but in the end, they end up in the hands of the gangs of smugglers. The wrong European pull factor policy has turned the Mediterranean Sea into a graveyard.”

Mr Orbán however dismissed claims that his government is in any way anti-Semitic.

“Anti-semitism is simply ridiculous. We are a more than fair country in that respect – we have a huge Jewish community,” he replied before being questioned about his opposition to the Hungarian and Jewish billionaire George Soros.

“No. George Soros is a talented Hungarian businessman. He is very much in favour of migration and helping the NGOs who are doing that. We don’t like it but it has nothing to do with his ethinic identity!”

Britain’s left-wing parties had been up in arms about the visit by the Hungarian premier on Friday, with one Jeremy Corbyn calling on Boris Johnson to challenge Orbán on his government’s “Holocaust revisionism and antisemitism”, a post which prompted the editor of the Jewish Chronicle to call the former Labour leader a “Jew-baiting racist”.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously described Mr Orbán as a “true friend of Israel”, insists the two leaders share an understanding “that the threat of radical Islam is a real one. It could endanger Europe. It could endanger the world.”

The Hungarian leader has been in talks with Polish premier and former interior minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini about creating a European alliance within the European Parliament for countries who respect nation state democracy.

“There should be a political home in Europe for our type of people, those who want to protect families, to defend their homeland, who think in terms of nation states working together rather than a European empire,” Orbán said back in March.

“We must work to create this, I think that such a political direction will be a decisive force in Europe.”