Status: 07/28/2022 11:13 a.m
Actually, today’s visit to Hungary’s head of government in Vienna is supposed to be about illegal migration. But now Orban’s meeting with Austria’s Chancellor Nehammer is overshadowed by his racist statements.
After Viktor Orban drew a lot of criticism from home and abroad with his speech in the Romanian town of Baile Tusnad, a confidant and collaborator of the Hungarian Prime Minister announced her resignation. The situation is unusual and obviously uncomfortable for the otherwise strong man in Budapest.
ARD Studio Vienna
Shortly before his important visit to neighboring Austria, Orban is mainly concerned with damage limitation, having lost the usual control, perhaps also over himself, but certainly over one of his long-time political companions: Zsuzsa Hegedüs.
Hegedüs – the previous representative of the head of government for social policy – is mainly against child poverty. She resigned loudly. It is the first time in eight years that someone has resigned from Orban’s round of government, which was primarily selected for loyalty.
In addition, with an open letter in which Hegedüs called the racist statements made by the right-wing populist Orban at the weekend completely “unacceptable”. In an interview with the Hungarian broadcaster RTL, she spoke of a “Nazi speech” and said: “Goebbels could have given a speech like that.”
Holocaust innuendo and racial ideology
Orban spoke at the annual summer camp of his right-wing populist Fidesz party. In the Romanian Tusnad, in Transylvania – there lives a sworn Hungarian minority. Orban has always liked to use the summer meeting for programmatic speeches. This time he used racist ideologues from the narrative toolkit, reproached the “European peoples” on the other side of the Carpathian Basin for – unlike Hungarians, Romanians and Slovaks – “mixing with the arrivals from outside Europe”, it was a “mixed-race world”. , not his world.
The sharp criticism of it, especially from abroad, came with a time delay – Orban’s government spokesman had hidden the racist passage in the English-language version. In addition, a massively disturbing gas joke by Orban, alluding to the Holocaust, became known.
Orban denies allegations
Orban is now also confronted with sharp criticism at home in Hungary, from the Hungarian chief rabbi, from the opposition – and from former comrade-in-arms Hegedüs. Which, however, does not quite believe in a loss of control by the speaker Orban. For her it was “a racist speech”, a “Nazi speech”. You don’t understand.
Orban has meanwhile rejected the accusation of being a racist in a letter to Hegedüs, in which he refers to his Christian convictions. Orban writes – and he uses Hegedüs as before: “We have known each other forever and you know my view that God created every human being in his image.” For that reason alone, racism is excluded in his case.
This reaction is also highly unusual for Orban’s autocratically governed Hungary. Maybe it has something to do with an important visit to neighboring Austria. The main focus there should be on commonalities, in defending against illegal immigration across the common border.
Nehammer should show a clear stance
Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer is now demanding a clear position. Everything that has to do with playing down the crimes of National Socialism is unacceptable for Austria, says Nehammer. He will not shy away from seeking a direct conversation. Nehammer then spoke of the actual topic of Orban’s visit – 80 percent of all irregular migrants would be picked up at the Hungarian-Austrian border.
Common successes with common interests, that will be the lever that Orban wants to pull again in Vienna.
Viktor Orbán wards off criticism of racism
Wolfgang Vichtl, ARD Vienna, July 27, 2022 9:43 a.m