Hungary's prime minister sparked a public outcry after he criticised Western Europeans for "mixing with non-Europeans".
Hungary's prime minister caused outrage Saturday after he bashed western European countries for "mixing" European and non-European populations in a keynote speech.
Viktor Orban claimed "the west is split in two", arguing that countries where European and non-European people intermingle "are no longer nations".
The ultra-nationalist conservative leader idealised an "unmixed Hungarian race", during his annual address at the Tusvanyos Summer University in Romania.
“We [Hungarians] are not a mixed race … and we do not want to become a mixed race,” he said, which prompted a huge public outcry.
Ethnic Hungarians are a mix of Finno-Ugric Magyars and various assimilated Turkic, Slavic, and Germanic peoples, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
Katalin Cseh, an MEP from Hungary's opposition Momentum party, criticised Orban's speech.
“His statements recall a time I think we would all like to forget," she said. "They really show the true colours of the regime,” she said.
Orban alleged that the West, Brussels, and the "troops" of long-time Fidesz enemy George Soros were trying to "force migrants" on Central Europe.
The Romanian MEP Alin Mituța also responded angrily to Orban’s comments.
“Speaking about race or ethnic ‘purity’, especially in such a mixed region such as central and eastern Europe, is purely delusional and dangerous. And so is Mr Orban,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Fidesz leader predicted the coming decade will be defined by uncertainty and war on the final day of the event in Romania, where he typically sets out his party's views and direction for the years ahead.
This year the Oxford-educated politician chose to further his controversial views on immigration, gender and geopolitics in front of thousands of spectators.
"There is a war, an energy crisis and war inflation, all of this draws a screen before our eyes," he said. "It draws a screen between us and gender and migration".
"In fact, the future raises these questions," Orban continued. "This is the great historical battle we are fighting: on demography, migration and gender. This is precisely what is at stake in the left-right fight."
His speech moved on to criticising the west's military support for Ukraine, with Orban positioning himself as Moscow’s foremost ally inside the European Union.
"If we stay out of war, migration, gender madness, global minimum tax and economic recession, Hungary will be able to maintain its success," he said.
According to the Hungarian prime minister, the Ukraine war will not end until 2024, after the upcoming elections in the US. He suggested Russia would not have invaded its neighbour if Donald Trump had remained in the White House.
Throughout his Saturday speech, Orban called for a renewed focus on peace talks away from sanctioning Russia and giving Ukraine arms.
"We Hungarians are the only ones to have shed blood in that war, while those criticising us have not," he said. "Therefore, Hungary has the right, as a neighbouring country, to say that peace is the only solution.
86 Hungarians have died in the Ukraine war so far, as reported by Daily News Hungary.
"Peace is the only solution to save lives and the only antidote to wartime inflation and the economic crisis triggered by the war," said Orban.
Orban's speech follows an EU decision to withhold billions in recovery funds and credit from Hungary over concerns its right-wing government is not upholding the rule of law or tackling corruption.
In recent weeks, Budapest has become more open and conciliatory to the EU's demands, as it tries to get its hands on the much-needed funds from the bloc.
Hungary's currency recently reached record lows against the euro and dollar, and its economy is experiencing the highest inflation in nearly 25 years.