Mr Orban, whose right-wing government has presided over a crackdown on immigration, said his issue with Mr Macron was “nothing personal” but that he had a duty to oppose him on the issue. Speaking at a press conference earlier today, the Hungarian firebrand said: “There is no denying that Emmanuel Macron is an important figure, moreover, the leader of the pro-immigration forces. “It is nothing personal, but a matter of our countries’ future.
“If what he wants with regards to migration materialises in Europe, that would be bad for Hungary, therefore I must fight him.”
Mr Orban’s warning to the French leader comes as other EU countries including Italy and Poland look to shift the balance of power in Brussels in this year’s European Parliament elections.
The ballot in May will be a chance for populist and Eurosceptic movements across the bloc to challenge the traditional pro-EU axis between Germany and France.
Mr Orban said he would like to see anti-immigration parties gain a majority in the elections in the hope that the change would be the first step in changing EU policy.
Outlining his vision for a path towards this goal, he said Hungary’s aim is first to secure an anti-immigrant majority in the European Parliament, then in the European Commission.
The next step would involve national elections changing the continent’s political landscape as more immigration hard-liners come into policy.
Once new leaders are elected, the powerful European Council could then shift EU policy in an anti-immigration direction, Mr Orban said.
Hungary has found itself at odds with the EU’s immigration policy since the height of the migrant crisis.
The Central European country saw some 400,000 refugees and asylum seekers pass through on their way to Western Europe in 2015 prompting Mr Orban to close Hungary’s borders and erect huge fences.
In a bid to handle the crisis, the European Commission imposed a quota system designed to share new arrivals across member states, but Hungary refused to take part.
On Hungary’s relations with Germany, Mr Orban said today that no compromise was possible with Germany over migration despite what he called “constant pressure” from Berlin on his government to take in immigrants.
He said German politicians and media attack him, often brutally, exerting undue pressure on him to admit migrants.
Mr Orban, who won a third consecutive landslide mandate last year, has tightened his grip on power since 2010, defying EU norms and rules and rising to prominence as the continent’s voters increasingly respond to populist agendas.