Viktor Orbán: Socio-cultural

Victor Orbán

Orbán is the prototype of a far-right populist. Not only is he fixed in the Hungarian people being Catholic and white, but he is openly against what he sees as a “muslim invasion” when it comes to refugees. Conservative and deeply religious, his main aim is protecting his country from the menace of immigrants. Unfortunately, his extreme “othering” views have been acted upon. 

Catholic Values Turned Political

While odd for this century, the Prime Minister of Hungary likes to boast that his administration is religious, unlike the secular western europeans. As seen in Main, Orbán does not come from a strikingly religious background, however, religion has been a main pillar  of his political career. Ths was present when Fidesz basically rewrote the country’s founding law in 2012. While this new constitution embodied the conservative moral tones and religious themes, the leader went a step further to enshrine religion in Hungarian society. Religion became part of the Constitution of the country in 2018, with a 7th amendment to the constitution. Basically, now the Hungarian state has a fundamental duty to protect the country’s constitutional self-identity and Christian culture, turning the country into a power-house of ultra-conservative Christianity.  

According to the leader, his administration follows the notion of “Christian Liberty”.This  concept is defined by politics of the “common good”, which is dedicated to the protection of the nation’s culture, values and borders. His vision rooted in religion is a homogenous community contrary to the liberal internationalism that reigns in Europe. He has continuously been proud of Hungary being “iliberal” in his rhetoric. While extreme, he is not alone in his views. Right-wing parties all throughout Europe have also weaponized these Christian values. Immigration is where the dark side of “Christian Liberty” shines. 

Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric and Policies

As stated briefly, Orbán casts himself as the protector of homogenous white Hungary from the immigrants. This rhetoric is essential for his populist agenda of pitting his electorate against the liberal opposition parties that would welcome refugees. Unsurprisingly, within the latest Constitutional amendment in 2018, the fundamental law now states that “no foreign population can be settled in Hungary”. However, his fight against refugees dates all the way back to the European refugee crisis, or as  Orbán prefers to call it: the “German problem”. 

The most evident policy against migration occurred in 2015 when the government constructed a barbed-wire fence along Hungary’s border with Serbia to stop the migrant flow from the East. Hungary is said to have the most stringent immigrations policies of all Europe. Orbán, along other Eastern European countries, has constantly rejected calls for mandatory quotas for sharing migrant settlements across the EU all throughout the crisis; her went as far as saying: “We will never, never, ever accept the mandatory quota for migrants”.

However, the xenophobia outlasted the migrant crisis. According to Human Rights Watch, Orbán has used the global pandemic to further the xenophobic and anti-migrant rhetoric, instead of crafting a cohesive plan. The initial reaction to the pandemic was one of scapegoating since most of the first positive tests regarded foreign citizens, in particular Iranian medical students at a university in Budapest. This led Orban to establish a link between this “foreign virus” and “migration”. However, soon enough there were many Hungarian nationals testing positive, which meant the dismissal of this narrative.