“Mixing of races”: Orban defends “a cultural point of view”, Washington condemns

“Mixing of races”: Orban defends “a cultural point of view”, Washington condemns

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban defended a Hungarian “cultural point of view” on Thursday after his virulent speech last weekend against “race mixing”, attracting the wrath of the United States.

“It sometimes happens that I speak in a way that can be misunderstood, but I have asked the Chancellor (Austrian Karl Nehammer) to please put the information in a cultural context,” he said in Vienna, where he was visiting. “In Hungary, these expressions and sentences represent a cultural, civilizational point of view”.

“Rhetoric of this nature is inexcusable” more than “75 years after the Holocaust”, estimated the same day the spokesperson of the American State Department Ned Price, quoting a press release from Deborah Lipstadt, the special representative of Washington on issues of anti-Semitism.

She also said she was “deeply alarmed” by a speech that used “rhetoric that clearly evokes Nazi racial ideology”.

Viktor Orban, a 59-year-old nationalist leader, used to blows and fiercely anti-migrants, rejected on Saturday the vision of a “multi-ethnic” society.

“We don’t want to be a mixed race”, which would mix with “non-Europeans”, he had said, before making an apparent allusion to the gas chambers of the Nazi regime, which had earned him strong criticism from Holocaust survivors and the Jewish community.

– Resignation –

Rare under the Orban era, Zsuzsa Hegedus, a sociologist advising Mr. Orban for a long time and whose parents survived the Holocaust, submitted her resignation on Tuesday. She denounced “a shameful position” and “a pure Nazi text worthy of (Joseph) Goebbels”, the former head of propaganda for Nazi Germany.

Since his return to power in 2010, Viktor Orban has transformed his country by implementing “illiberal” reforms, based on the “defense of a Christian Europe”.

In particular, he attacked migrants arriving from Africa and the Middle East and the NGOs that come to their aid, making it more difficult to find asylum and erecting barriers at the borders. But if he had made similar comments in the past, he had not used the term “race” in this way, according to experts.

The Austrian Chancellor spoke of this new controversy at the start of the press conference, “strongly condemning all forms of racism and anti-Semitism” and ensuring that the two men had addressed the issue “in complete frankness”.

“We are in perfect agreement,” reacted Viktor Orban, saying he was “proud” of the “zero tolerance” policy pursued by Hungary.

MM. Nehammer and Orban also discussed “illegal migration” and “energy cooperation”, as their two countries are heavily dependent on Russian gas.

The Hungarian Prime Minister took the opportunity to again blame the policy of the European Union in the face of the conflict in Ukraine. Hungary is opposed in particular to the plan for the coordinated reduction of gas consumption, voted on Tuesday in reaction to the drop in Russian deliveries.

“If we start to restrict a product, it is a sign that we are in difficulty. We are heading towards a war economy and, if this war drags on, recession is inevitable”, launched Mr. Orban.

And to call on the European Commission to opt for a new “strategy” and “not to run into the wall” by going further via a gas embargo. An option that is not relevant for the moment.

Viktor Orban was making his first trip to one of Hungary’s partners in the EU since his triumphant re-election in early April.

Austria, a neutral country that aims to be a bridge between western and eastern Europe, is keen not to sideline Hungary, according to an official speaking on condition of anonymity.

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