Helmut Kohl, the former German prime minister who passed away last year and is credited, together with US President Ronald Reagan and UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, for bringing down the Berlin Wall and reuniting Germany’s East and West in the 1990s, famously said to his cabinet ministers: ‘If I want to know what the Germans think, I just need to read ‘Bild’.’
Bild, like the Sun in the UK, is the absolute working man’s newspaper in Germany, always expressing what is in the underbelly of the German population.
Today, one day after German chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservative party started their negotiations of the last chance with the social democrats to form a government, Bild had none other than Ms Merkel’s ultimate European foe over for a double page spread interview: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Germany's Bild interview with Viktor Orban today: Brussels hasn't paid a penny to Budapest for the border defences - <a href="https://t.co/7JFzJZRIx3">https://t.co/7JFzJZRIx3</a></p>— Tom Mulligan (@mullitom) <a href="https://twitter.com/mullitom/status/950299723952476162?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 8, 2018</a></blockquote>
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To say that the Hungarian PM went soft on Germany is quite the understatement. Fighting with the European Commission over his refusal to take on any migrants, Mr. Orban told the German press: "The difference is, you wanted the migrants, and we didn't."
"We don't see these people as Muslim refugees. We see them as Muslim invaders."
With this statement, he, in fact, expresses a view seen by many Eastern European politicians, but Mr. Orban is now the first to say it out loud.
"We believe that a large number of Muslims inevitably leads to parallel societies because Christian and Muslim society will never unite."
"Multiculturalism is only an illusion."
Mr. Orban, faced with Hungarian elections in April, has been toughening up on his populist speech lately. A week ago he had the Polish Prime Minister over in Budapest and together they also criticized the EU immigration plan. Furthermore, last Friday Mr. Orban appeared at the party conference of the conservative Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU). This party, which forms a coalition with Ms. Merkel’s CDU to form Germany’s biggest political party, the CDU/CSU, wants a tougher stance on immigration.