Hungary’s April 8 general election will bear significance beyond the country, opposition Socialist-Parbeszed prime ministerial candidate Gergely Karacsony and Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPO) head Christian Kern said at a joint press conference after talks in Vienna.
The outcome of the Hungarian election could also influence the future of Europe, Karacsony said during the press conference broadcast on SPO’s Facebook page.
“Orbanism is an illness in Europe” which is infecting an increasing number of member states and already shows signs in Austria, Karacsony said. As the process is damaging for the whole of Europe, there is a pressing need for good relations between the left-wing parties of Hungary and Austria, he added.
Karacsony said the Orban government’s policy for Europe involved “stealing EU monies and then using some of the stolen money to incite hatred in Hungarians against the EU”. “They present the EU and Brussels as if they were enemies of Hungary,” he added.
Hungarians always wanted to belong to Europe, so ruling Fidesz’s campaign involving threats that Budapest will look like Vienna if migrants are allowed to settle will actually work in favour of the Socialists-Parbeszed alliance, he said.
In response to a question concerning possible cooperation with Jobbik, Karacsony said “the enemy of my enemy does not automatically become my friend” and this applies to the relations between Hungary’s left and Jobbik.
He compared the election campaign to the battle of David with the Goliath where the latter is represented by Fidesz, having all the resources, but David is represented by the Socialists-Parbeszed which “has justice on its side and will eventually win the battle”.
Kern, a former Austrian chancellor, said he was in agreement with Karacsony that democracy, European solidarity and constitutionality are undisputable virtues.
He said Hungary is one of Austria’s most important partners and it causes some concern that Hungary has become “massively anti-European” during Orban’s governance.
Referring to Karacsony and Socialist Party leader Gyula Molnar, he expressed trust that there would be an alternative model standing against Orban’s illiberal democracy.
In response to a question concerning possible links between crime statistics and the migrant policy of Austria’s former government and border protection measures, Kern said crime statistics improved significantly in Austria in recent years. There are integration problems connected to migrants and criminal acts but problems must be addressed by organising integration, he added.