Zoltan Simon, Bloomberg, September 23, 2021
Europe’s nationalist leaders called for pro-family and anti-immigration policies to resolve a demographic crisis, even as declining populations and severe labor shortages force them to open their doors to foreign workers.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hosted the leaders of the Czech Republic, Serbia and Slovenia at a demographic-focused forum in Budapest, where he said immigration was a threat to the survival of western civilization rather than an antidote.
“Some civilizations are capable of reproducing themselves, western civilization isn’t,” Orban, who’s become a trailblazer for fellow nationalists in the European Union, told the forum on Thursday that also included former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. “Worse, it can’t even decide if that’s a problem.”
Opposition to immigration has underpinned a nationalist turn sweeping across much of eastern Europe. That has been accompanied by the rolling back of democratic freedoms in countries like Hungary, Poland and Slovenia, straining relations within the EU.
Meanwhile, Poland followed Latvia and Lithuania this month in declaring a state of emergency at its eastern frontier to stem a surge in arrivals of undocumented migrants from Belarus. The three EU members say Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is sending people, mainly from Afghanistan and Iraq, across the border to trigger a crisis in retaliation to sanctions from the bloc.