Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán defended his government’s aim to create a society “based on traditional values [and] on national identity” during an interview with Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson aired Thursday night.
Orbán came to power in 2010 after his national-conservative party Fidesz won a landslide victory in the Hungarian parliamentary elections. Hungary attracted international attention after Orbán’s government opted not to accept hundreds of thousands of refugees from Muslim-majority countries as other European Union members had.
“Many European countries decided to open a new chapter of their own history of the nation,” Orbán said. “They call it a new society, which is a post-Christian, post-national society. They believe firmly that if different communities, a huge number of Muslim communities, and the original inhabitants — let’s say Christian communities — are mixed up, the outcome of this will be good.”
“There is no answer whether it would be good or bad, but I think it’s very risky,” he added. “And each nation has the right to take this risk or to reject this. We Hungarians decided not to take that risk to mix up our society.”
Orbán has long argued that creating economic incentives for families, rather than immigration, are the solution to low birth rates and economic stagnation. Hungary’s government announced in 2016 that families would be given generous subsidies to purchase new homes, and the amount families received would scale up based on the number of children they had. (RELATED: Promotion Of Homosexuality Or Transgender Rights Within Children’s Media Restricted In Hungary)
Orbán told Carlson that his government’s family policy “could be described as a success story.” The Institute for Family Studies concluded in a 2018 study that both the number of marriages and Hungary’s total fertility rate has increased in recent years.
But the central European nation has faced criticism from the E.U. and even the U.S. over concerns that Orbán is undermining Hungary’s democracy. Western human rights groups such as Freedom House argue Orbán’s government has pushed constitutional and legal changes that undermine the independence of the media and judiciary.
The European Commission concluded in a series of reports published last month that Hungary’s recent actions threaten judicial independence and the rule of law. The E.U. has also expressed concerns about corruption and favoritism in Orbán’s government, according to Politico.
Then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden compared Orbán’s government to “totalitarian regimes” during a town hall in October 2020. His comments sparked backlash in Hungary and neighboring Poland, both of which are members of NATO.
Orbán dismissed European and American criticisms of his government, and told Carlson that his approach “is very popular” among the Hungarian people and people in other central European countries like Poland.
Responding to Biden’s comments, Orbán said the U.S. must “realize that issues in Hungary must be decided by the Hungarians.”
“Western liberals cannot accept that inside the Western civilization, there is a conservative [and] national alternative which is more successful in everyday life than the liberal ones,” he added.