The German news magazine Focus published an interview with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán under the title “We are protecting Europe’s values” in its issue to be released on Saturday which was published in digital format on Friday evening.

Mr Orbán takes the view that the objectives of the EU set in 2000 have not been realised, but regardless, “Europe is still the best place in the world”. However, a state of imbalance has developed between Brussels and the EU Member States, and this is one of the sources of the problems today.

One such problem is the “refugee issue” on which “we have created the impression of being incompetent and at a loss” because “we are expecting the solution from Brussels” which, however, “will not come”. This is one of the reasons why we failed to prepare for the foreseeable processes, and “everything is now happening in an uncontrolled fashion”.

“The question arises whether Brussels will in the future contribute to the talent and capacity of nations to act, or will take away from it as it has done to date”, the Prime Minister said.

Various powers are delegated to Brussels without open debate and the consent of the States, “in a stealthy manner”, and as a result, “an enormous bureaucratic machinery” has evolved which handles the nation states as rivals, rather than as partners, based on its own logic.

Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl never wanted this; he was “the best friend of small nations”, and smaller countries never had as much faith in a single German Chancellor as they had in Mr Kohl. “This faith has been lost”, Mr Orbán stated.

In answer to the question whether Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, or current German Chancellor Angela Merkel is responsible for this, the Prime Minister said that the balance “had been upset by the crisis of our economic system”, and “the fault should not be sought in Juncker or Merkel but in the poor management of the economic crisis”.

The Prime Minister answered the question of whether asylum policy should be within Member State competence in the affirmative. He argued: the Greeks failed to observe the provisions of the Schengen Agreement, and as a result, “they have put Hungary and Austria into an impossible situation”.

Hungary is, however, enforcing the provisions of the Agreement on the Hungarian-Serbian border, and this will also be the case on the Hungarian-Croatian border as of this week. “Some may well not like this”, Mr Orbán said.

In response to the point that in the German Chancellor’s view people running for the protection of their lives cannot be stopped with fences, the Prime Minister pointed out: Hungary does not neighbour either Syria or Iraq, and “those who come here are not fleeing for their lives”. “We regard most of them as migrants who want a better life”, he added.

Everyone has the right to human dignity and security, but “not everyone is entitled to a German life or a Hungarian life”. Only those are entitled to that who “have worked for it”, Mr Orbán said.

He added: Europe may take in those in need on a temporary basis, at most, and when order is restored in their countries and they are no longer in danger, they must return. “We cannot take in everyone”, the Prime Minister said.

Regarding the idea that he is urging an “illiberal Europe”, a new conservative movement, he argued: certain topics should “only be interpreted in a certain context”, such as the “refugee issue”, in the context of which the culture of inclusion and the openness of the borders are the fashionable line, despite the fact that the borders “should not be open but controlled”; however, this is “an illiberal thought, and is regarded as politically incorrect”.

The language of the European elite is “ideological and doctrinaire”, and brands everyone who says that 80 per cent of the migrants are young men of the age of military service as heartless and exclusionist.

This is an “anti-democratic, liberal language”, the emergence of which is an “ironic” development as liberalism once aimed at freedom, but today it stands for the opposite of that, Mr Orbán said.

In response to the point that Angela Merkel refers to Christianity, humaneness and solidarity, the Prime Minister pointed out: based on those same values, he comes to different conclusions than the German Chancellor. Christian responsibility means that we must help people “to continue the lives that they had before”, and a Christian person primarily owes responsibility to his children, parents, neighbours and country.

Europe is a form of life which includes the freedom of thought and religion, equality before the law, and the equality of men and women. These are “cultural values which we must protect”. Today, however, “parallel societies” are coming into being which do not intend to adjust to these values.

The Islamic religion and culture do not blend with Christian religion and culture; it is about a different way of life, the Prime Minister takes the view.

He stated: “It is not a melting pot that is coming into being, but multi-culturalism with divided societies”, and Hungary does not want this.

The “Islamic culture is stronger today than ours”. It has more respect for life, and attributes greater importance to the family as demonstrated by demographic indicators. The Hungarians themselves feel the 150 years of Osmanic rule in their bones during which “there was a Muslim world and there was a Hungarian world”.

Visiting France today, one may see “a modern version” of this, and there is therefore no way of knowing whether the success of integration can be ruled out as a matter of course, but examples appear to show that any attempt at this “has failed to date”.

“Islam has never been part of Europe but came into Europe”, and does not form part of Europe in a spiritual sense, Mr Orbán said.

He added: he does not rule out that Islam can be compatible with democracy, but “the most bitter conclusion” of the Arab Spring is that the “imposition” of western democracy on countries where this is “an alien idea” does not lead to the unfolding of freedom but to a state where “even the little that there was is lost”.

The Prime Minister said: according to a study of the European Commission, the EU may resolve its demographic problems through migration. However, Hungary rejects this, and concentrates on supporting families. “This is regarded as dated”, Mr Orbán said, remarking that he is hopeful regarding Hungary’s future, but is less optimistic as regards the future of Europe.

In answer to the question whether he is less optimistic because hundreds of thousands of people are arriving in Germany because of Angela Merkel, he said: “I would be the last to criticise the Chancellor” as at present there is no more difficult job than hers, and therefore only those should criticise Angela Merkel who could do her job better.

Such as Horst Seehofer?, the journalists of Focus raised the idea, in response to which Mr Orbán said that the “CSU (the Bavarian conservative party led by Seehofer) is beyond doubt a major candidate”.

In answer to the question whether the dispute between CSU and Merkel gives him any kind of satisfaction, given that he warned about the problems well in advance, the Prime Minister said: Brussels “missed the opportune moment to resolve the refugee crisis”, and the German Chancellor “was faced with a fait accompli, and therefore rather than criticising her, I protect the external borders of the EU”.

The solution would have been to support Turkey financially and to take over the protection of the Greek borders, and Europe should have recognised much earlier that the various asylum regulations create difficulties.

In answer to another question regarding the dispute of Angela Merkel and Horst Seehofer, Mr Orbán said that he does not wish to become involved in “German internal quarrels”, but instead chooses to be “self-critical” because the Visegrád countries should have decided on cooperation in the interest of the protection of the Hungarian external border of the EU a year ago.

Regarding the differences between the German and the Hungarian approaches, Mr Orbán pointed out: while most members of the German political elite take the view that we are facing a flood of refugees, “we see this as a mass migration”, and while the Germans are talking about 1 to 2 million people, “we are talking about 10 to 20 million”. He remarked that “Africa has yet to set out”.

Our views on parallel societies also diverge: “we are afraid of these, and do not want them”, and “we see the refugee crisis as a source of trouble”. Germany, however, believes that migration can be useful, and “everything will turn out fine if things are done well”.

Concerning the civil war in Syria and the role of Russia, the Prime Minister said: the West was unable to resolve the problem, and wanted the departure of President Bashar al-Assad. The Russians, however, do not see a chance for the resolution of the situation without Assad, and therefore support him. At this point in time, we cannot yet see what they will achieve in Syria.

Regarding the crisis in Ukraine and the sanctions implemented against Russia, Mr Orbán pointed out, inter alia, that the development of a European-style market economy in Ukraine is unsuccessful for the moment, and members of the Hungarian community in Ukraine are coming to Hungary “as economic migrants” in increasingly large numbers. He added: we may well have to reckon with “a migration problem” coming from the east.

The sanctions should not have been introduced, but we failed to stop them. We must probably realise by now that it does not matter what the smaller countries think because if the larger countries of Europe take a different view, they will not take into consideration the position of the Czechs, the Slovaks and the Hungarians, he said.

It is not that “Germany is acting as our guardian” but rather that, because of the political weight of Germany, Hungary simply cannot pursue a foreign policy which does not tally with Berlin’s interests. And the Germans are “not picky” when it comes to the enforcement of their interests; this is also testified to by the case of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, Mr Orbán explained.

He remarked: “Brussels stopped us on the South Stream project because we are small”, while the Nord Stream pipeline is being extended.

Regarding the fact that many people see him as “Europe’s bad man”, he said that he has got used to it. “I am presumably not entirely innocent, there were some things which I could have done more adeptly”, the Prime Minister replied.

At the same time, the Hungarian people do not like to find excuses. “Quite simply, we must be successful to be taken seriously”, Mr Orbán highlighted.

He pointed out that Hungary was not at all in a better position than Greece in 2010, but has already repaid its worst loans, and the economy grew by 3.7 per cent last year.

This success could only be achieved within the EU, and while the EU is not on its best form at present, and the German football team, too, loses a match every now and then, it is still world champion, Mr Orbán added in answer to the question whether Hungary could have achieved its economic results outside the EU.

(Prime Minister's Office/MTI)