RELIGION

Hungary's leader: EU and Soros seek to "Muslimize" Europe

European Union leaders and Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros are seeking a "new, mixed, Muslimized Europe," Hungary's anti-migration prime minister said Saturday.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said during a visit to Romania that Hungary's border fences, supported by other Central European countries, will block the EU-Soros effort to increase Muslim migration into Europe.

While Hungary opposed taking in migrants "who could change the country's cultural identity," Orban said under his leadership, Hungary would remain a place where "Western European Christians will always be able to find security."

Orban, who will seek a fourth term in April 2018, said Hungary's opposition parties were no match for his government.

"In the upcoming campaign, first of all we have to confront external powers," Orban said at a cultural festival in Baile Tusnad, Romania. "We have to stand our ground against the Soros mafia network and the Brussels bureaucrats. And, during the next nine months, we will have to fight against the media they operate."

Soros has become a key target of Orban and his government.

Recent legislation in Hungary seeks to close or expel the Budapest-based Central European University, founded by Soros in 1991. There are also new rules about non-governmental organizations funded at least partly from abroad — which critics say stigmatize the NGOs, many of which are backed by Soros' Open Society Foundations.

Orban reiterated his charge that Soros-funded NGOs want to weaken Hungary's security with their advocacy for asylum-seekers and said Hungary had managed to stop the "migrant invasion" with razor-wire fences on its borders with Serbia and Croatia.

A recently ended anti-Soros billboard and poster campaign in Hungary has been criticized by Jewish groups for its anti-Semitic overtones.

In the speech broadcast by Hungarian state media, Orban repeated his claim that the EU leadership was encroaching on member states' rights and trying to apply policies, such as increased immigration, which he said were opposed by most Europeans.

Orban said Poland, which is under pressure from the EU because of attempts to put its Supreme Court under political control, had replaced Hungary as the target of the EU's "chief inquisitor," whom he identified as European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans.

"The main target of the inquisition, the example of national governance to be weakened, destroyed and broken is Poland," Orban said, vowing to defend the Polish government. "Hungary will use every legal possibility in the European Union to be in solidarity with the Poles."

Asked about choosing between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Orban answered with a joke about a Pole being asked in the communist era to choose between Hitler and Stalin.

"He answered that he chooses Marlene Dietrich," Orban said with a laugh. "What I want to say with this is that you can't give a good answer to a bad question."

Orban first expressed his support for Trump a year ago, while Putin has visited Hungary twice in two years. Hungary is expanding its energy ties with Moscow, including Russia's construction of new reactors at Hungary's only nuclear power plant.

Orban said "Hungarian interests" would be the "guiding star" of his country's foreign policy, not "Trump, Putin or (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel."

Orban said Hungary's low birth rate made the country an "endangered species," and that the government was using taxes on multinational companies to fund social policies that would spur families to have more children.