Von der Leyen condemns Orbán’s ‘mixed-race’ speech

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday reminded Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán that race-based discriminations are against EU values.

“All EU member states, including Hungary, signed up to common global values,” von der Leyen told Slovak news website aktuality.sk on Saturday, adding that “discriminating on the basis of race is to trample on those values. The European Union is built on equality, tolerance, justice and fair play.”

Von der Leyen did not mention the Hungarian leader explicitly. But her comments came in response to a question on a controversial speech Orbán gave last weekend, in which he notably said he didn’t want Hungary to be a “mixed-race” country.

“While it is true that some people will always indulge in hostile rhetoric, society as a whole is much stronger,” von der Leyen said, generically referring to Central European countries.

Orbán’s speech triggered strong criticism — including from Luxembourg, Finland and even from one of Orbán’s longtime advisers, who resigned in reaction to it — but not from the European Commission which, until Saturday, declined to comment on the speech.

Leaders of the European Parliament’s main groups on Friday criticized Orbán’s “inexcusable statements” on race and Europe and urged the EU to continue withholding funds from the country.

“We, the leaders of the Political Groups of the European Parliament, strongly condemn the recent openly racist declaration by Prime Minister Orbán about not wanting to become ‘peoples of mixed race,’” read a statement from the Parliament’s Conference of Presidents, which includes leaders of the legislative body’s various political groups, as well as Parliament President Roberta Metsola.