Mr Orban, a staunch nationalist with a strongly anti-immigrant platform, has been threatened with expulsion from the mainstream conservative EPP bloc in the European Union’s parliament because of his outspoken views in the migrant crisis. But in a defiant speech in Budapest the prime minister reaffirmed his determination to prevent migrants making their way to Europe in search of a better life.
He told a pro-government rally: “We want a strong Europe, strong nation states, and strong leaders at the helm of Europe, who don’t bring trouble here but take the help there.
“We want a fresh start, so we can stop Europe’s demise, the nightmares of a ‘United States of Europe’, so that Europe once again belongs to Europeans.”
European People’s Party leader Manfred Weber has demanded an immediate end to Mr Orban’s anti-EU and anti-immigrant campaigning and an apology to fellow EPP members.
But talks this week made no progress and the EPP will vote next week on whether to expel Mr Orban’s Fidesz party for failing to support its values of civil liberties and the rule of law.
The EPP features around 80 parties and, if it remains the biggest bloc in the European Parliament, will be able to name the next president of the executive European Commission. Booting out Fidesz could endanger its majority.
Mr Orban still supports Mr Weber as the EPP’s candidate to lead the European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch, after the elections.
Fidesz’s success at home and in defying Brussels on immigration and governance has inspired many other nationalist and far-right movements across Europe.
Mr Orban told the rally: ”If we don’t defend Christianity, we will lose Europe, which will no longer belong to Europeans. In a European ‘liberal empire’, we will all lose our liberties.”
Some supporters fear Mr Orban could veer even further from the mainstream if Fidesz is ejected from the EPP but he still has the firm backing of the majority of Fidesz members.
Gabriella Lengyel, a 65-year-old pensioner who attended the Budapest rally, said: “We’ll back anything he decides to do.
“He wants to stay in the EPP but represents the Europe we like, not this neo-liberal madness.”