Representatives of the Jewish community raised the alarm on Tuesday after Hungarian leader Viktor Orban spoke out against the creation of “mixed-race peoples”.
In a speech in the Romanian region of Transylvania, which is home to a large Hungarian community, the 59-year-old ultra-conservative prime minister criticized the association with “non-Europeans”.
The International Auschwitz Committee called Orban’s speech “stupid and dangerous” and called on the EU to continue to distance itself from “Orban’s racist undertones and make it clear to the world that a Mr Orban has no future in Europe.”
The speech reminds Holocaust survivors “of the dark times of their own exclusion and persecution,” the organization’s vice president, Christoph Heubner, said in a statement to AFP.
Heubner specifically called on Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer to take a stand when he hosts Orban on an official visit to Vienna on Thursday.
“We don’t want to become mixed race peoples,” Orban said on Saturday.
Orban, known for his anti-migrant policies, has made similar comments in the past, according to experts, but without using the Hungarian term for “race.”
Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said Orban’s speech was “misinterpreted” by those who “clearly don’t understand the difference between the mixing of different ethnic groups, all of which originate in the Judeo-Christian cultural sphere, and the mixing of people from different ethnicities.” civilizations”.
In his speech, Orban also seemed to allude to the gas chambers of the German Nazi regime when he criticized Brussels’ plan to cut European gas demand by 15 percent.
“I don’t see how it will be enforced – although, as I understand it, the past shows us German know-how on that,” he said.
Hungary’s Jewish community has also criticized the speech.
“There is only one race on this planet: the Homo Sapiens Sapiens,” Chief Rabbi Robert Frolich wrote on Facebook.
And Orban adviser Zsuzsa Hegedus tendered her resignation over the “shameful position” and called the speech “a pure Nazi text,” according to news channel HVG.
In response, Orban emphasized “his government’s zero-tolerance policy when it comes to anti-Semitism and racism,” according to a publicly released letter.
“You can’t seriously accuse me of racism after 20 years of working together,” he argued.
Bogdan Aurescu, foreign minister of EU member Romania, said Orban’s “ideas” were “unacceptable”.
A spokesman for the European Commission says he will never respond to statements by European politicians.
“It is clear that the EU has a certain number of values that are enshrined in the treaties and that it implements policies that are consistent with these values and these treaty articles,” spokesman Eric Mamer told reporters.