Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is no stranger to diatribes against the European Union, decried “population exchanges” orchestrated by the “federalist empire” on Saturday and accused Brussels of leading an “LGBT+ offensive”.
“The EU is rejecting the Christian heritage and organising population exchanges through migration”, the ultra-conservative leader declared at the Tusványos festival, in Transylvania, Romania, home to a large Hungarian community.
The festival offers round-table discussions on major issues, including climate change, the last NATO summit, pandemics, “the new world order” and the possibility of another Cold War.
Cultural programmes also play an important role, with literature and theatre discussions, and, in the evenings, popular Hungarian bands can be heard on stage.
Otherwise known as the Bálványos Free Summer University and Student Camp the festival was originally intended to promote cross-border co-operation, Romanian-Hungarian dialogue and political discourse.
However, the event has become one of the main forums for Orban’s supporters to gather and exchange ideas.
“For me, as an officially oppositional artist, it’s obviously surprising to be invited here, but if I see the list of bands that perform here, I think that the musical part of the festival is completely separate. I love to come here, Transylvania is beautiful. And we came here to play music,” singer and actress Bori Péterfy said.
Viktor Orban, who is fiercely opposed to European asylum reform, was referring to the “Great Replacement programme”.
This conspiracy theory, popularised by the far right, claims that the elites are organising the replacement of European populations by non-European immigrants.
The 60-year-old claims to be Europe’s defender of “illiberal” values, a term he used for the first time in 2014 in this same Baile Tusnad column, where he usually makes very virulent speeches.
Last summer, he provoked an outcry by denouncing “the mixing of races”.
In constant conflict with Brussels, this time he attacked “federalist governance in Europe”, which in his view has led to “an irresponsible empire”. He castigated “an ageing boxer”, and “a rich but weak union” that is wrong to cut itself off from Russia.
Romanian nationalists demonstrated outside the festival on Saturday before Orban’s arrival but failed to gain access.
“Viktor Orban has the same terrorist principles as the Russian president, who is an international criminal. They want to occupy and annex territories” said one Romanian protester.
Also in Orban’s sights was “the EU’s LGBT+ offensive against the family-friendly nations of Europe”. This is a recurring theme for Viktor Orban, whose government has taken a number of measures over the years that have been deemed homophobic by NGOs and the LGBTQ+ community.