By Mariann Őry. Interview conducted for the Hungarian conservative daily newspaper Magyar Hírlap and published on 2018, January 29.
The former chairman of UKIP, Nigel Farage spoke in the European Parliament against George Soros’s allies, and always defends Viktor Orban in the regular “Hungary debates”. The Brexit-forerunner told Magyar Hirlap that in its current state, the EU degrades its members to provinces, and big states always dominate the small ones.
How do you see the current state of the Brexit negotiations?
Very slow, lacking in vision and courage. Extremely unlikely to deliver the sort of Brexit people voted for. It’s because of a weak government, it’s because of an establishment that still wants to be part of the European Union, and a Prime Minister that simply doesn’t believe in what she’s doing. Hopefully, we’ll leave on March the 29th next year, but it looks like, at best, we’re going to get Brexit in name only at this stage. So there are a lot more battles to be fought.
So the deal that Theresa May can bargain with the EU will not serve the interests of the British people?
They will not put the countries, the companies, the workers of Europe first. They only care about “The Project,” – the new god that we’re all supposed to praise. In their eyes, if Britain leaves on good terms, other countries want to leave, too. I say that no deal is better than a bad deal. The idea that without a deal you can’t trade, it’s rubbish! China and America trade with the whole of Europe without any trade deals at all other than the basic , and actually rather good rules of the World Trade Organization. Would I rather have a sensible trade deal? Of course, because it makes everyone’s life easier. Even more logical for Europe than it is for us. By the way, ultimately, the referendum wasn’t about economic forecasts, but about being a self-governing nation.
Has Brussels learnt from it?
Yes, they’ve decided to integrate more quickly. They’ve drawn completely the wrong conclusion. Merkel, Macron, Juncker, Verhofstadt – they’re all saying the same thing. They want the United States of Europe, a unitary Europe, not even a federal Europe. In a federal Europe, Hungary could make most of its laws, have economic freedom on various elements of taxation. EU Chief Negotiator Barney has said to me, “This is not a federal Europe. It’s a unified Europe.” I call that a unitary, a centralised Europe. I call that a centralized Europe. And in some ways, it’s just, a slightly more Right-wing version of Communism. The Brezhnev doctrine, after the Prague Spring, of limited sovereignty – this is Europe today. You can argue it’s a good thing. You can argue it’s a bad thing. But please don’t tell me either that it’s not happening or that you can change it – you can’t!. You can stand against it. To some extent, that’s what Mr. Orbán is doing, and the Poles are doing, and the Romanians are doing. But they will not give an inch. They’re bigger than you, and they’re stronger than you. I think at some point, your debate about your future will begin to resemble our debate. It’s a fact: you cannot be a self-governing, independent democratic nation and a member of this European Union.
The current voting system doesn’t help the small countries.
It’s a disaster for small countries. The American system was designed to make sure that the big states couldn’t dominate the small states – unlike in Europe. Two or three big countries with a couple of friends can get whatever they want. Here’s the issue of the full militarization of the EU, which is in direct conflict with NATO. Let’s suppose one day, Russia again did become a threat. It may, it may not. Who would you rather place your faith in, Mr. Juncker and the European army or the British, Americans, and NATO? And these are very, very big, fundamental questions for the future. And I don’t believe that Hungary has started having these debates yet, but I think it will.
Speaking of the United States of Europe, what is your opinion of the – considering their election result, rather absurd – possibility that Martin Schulz’s party will most probably end up in government again?
I saw some polling recently that suggested that this socialist party, the SPD, are now down to 17%, and the AfD, with all their problems, have won 13%. So there are big changes happening. Traditional socialist parties have been wiped out all over Europe. It’s why Macron had to invent something new. Schulz and Merkel are in big trouble. The AfD have completely changed the electoral landscape in Germany. And that’s part of what is happening everywhere. There are some people that say that the Brexit and Trump in 2016 was a short-term aberration, a short-term outburst of anger from poorly educated people. But the lovely Mr. Macron has won, and it’s all going to be okay. And the truth is, actually, right across Europe there is growing opposition to this concept of a unitary state. That’s what Brexit and Trump were all about: the nation-state was at the heart of both of those big so-called global shocks. The nation-state works because it’s the unit we feel part of, it’s the unit we have a loyalty to. It’s the unit, ultimately, that we’re prepared to stand up and fight for and defend.
Do we need some kind of cooperation in Europe?
We’re next-door neighbours. Yes, Europe needs a cooperative structure, some sensible trading rules, we could agree on a few basic common minimum standards. But all of that can be done through a Council of Europe. The EU is a project that pretends to be about cooperation, but actually is about the assimilation. Decision-making ability is given away to unelected bureaucrats based in the center.
We have the impression in Hungary that in Brussels they just don’t understand the Hungarian government, when it comes to sovereignty issues.
Every five years Viktor Orbán comes to the Parliament. They’re rude to him. I speak, but I say, “You really shouldn’t be here, you shouldn’t be abused by them. No, they’re not interested. They are going to build a United States of Europe, and nothing can get in the way. It is like a religion. Members of the European Union have surrendered to a higher court, surrendered your lawmaking ability – became provinces.
The EU wasn’t able to handle the migration crisis. Did it make a big difference to the Brexit vote?
Oh, they handled it very well. They did exactly what they set out to do. Mr. Juncker, in April of 2015, launched the EU refugee policy that is very simple: anyone that sets foot on European soil can stay. In my speeches, I said, “This is mad! Mad! It’ll lead to countless millions of people, and within that number, there’ll be terrorists.” This is a direct result of bad policy. Juncker, and even more importantly Merkel, that made a big difference to our vote. We said, “We don’t want this!”
Do you think that the migration policy which the Visegrád states (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) support is closer to what the majority of Europeans want?
Without a doubt, and the majority of people in Germany and France would agree with that view. You’re having a few little victories. They’re beginning to shift a little bit. Tusk is beginning to realize that this is just ridiculous, but don’t pat yourselves on the back too much.
How far do you think this Article 7 procedure against Poland will go?
That’s a good question, because we’re in uncharted territory. We’ve not been here before. The European Union does not have a great history of backing down because it nearly always wins.
Romania is also on the agenda in Brussels, but when their most recent former Prime Minister threatened to hang representatives of ethnic Hungarians the Commission said, “We don’t want to comment.”
Yes, they pick and choose what’s internal and what’s not. Catalonia, where they dragged women by their hair out of polling stations to try and stop them voting in the referendum, that’s an internal matter. Very hypocritical.
We know this well in Hungary, because whatever our Prime Minister says, then it’s important for Brussels, and then they can criticize.
Yes, absolutely. But I mean, Catalonia’s amazing. “Purely internal matter. Necessary force was used.” That’s their line. Catalonia poses them a massive problem because not only does Catalonia want to break from Spain, it wants to break from the European Union, too. These people are separatists in every sense, and so it’s bloody interesting. It really is very, very interesting.
Your speech about George Soros in the European Parliament received much feedback in Hungary.
The abuse I’ve received in America, it’s incredible. I’m an anti-Semite now, because I criticized Soros. I’ve been called everything over the last twenty years, I’ve never been called that until I attacked Soros. I’m worried about Soros, because Open Society has already had $15 billion channeled into it, and it’s promised another $18 billion. We’ve never, ever in the world of politics, seen a political pressure campaigning group with this kind of money. They’ve got more money than most governments have got. From what I can see, Soros wants to break down the nation-state, he wants to break down the family unit, he wants to break down all of the norms that we attribute to Western society. I think it’s a very dangerous thing. I know that anyone who crosses him has a tough time. He’s locked in a pretty mortal battle in your country against the Prime Minister. I don’t think most people really understand the extent of this man’s organization, the money behind it. There is a big propaganda war going on. I pointed out that he had 226 friends in the European Parliament. So I wrote to them all and asked them would declare what their level of engagement with Open Society was. I didn’t get a single answer. Soros is a real issue, not just for Hungary. The nation-state and the Judeo-Christian culture has a major enemy in Soros.