“Orbán is the future of Europe“ – Nigel Farage tells Válasz
“You can never tell what freedom looks like“, relaxes himself the loudest founding father of Brexit asked by Válasz. Nigel Farage, the former leader of UKIP, is not even sure how will his homeland look like after leaving the EU in 43 days therefore he is rather about to continue as an MEP. Meanwhile he says the Soviet and the European Union are equivalent, labeling the latter as right-wing Communism. Is it a contradiction? Well, it is not the only one. An exclusive interview with Nigel Farage about Eastern Europeans and George Soros as well as about good fences and hell.
– I heard you have a special place in hell.
– What a rude statement that was! Amazing. (Verhofstadt was even ruder.) One of the things that really is cementing Brexit in the mind of British voters – to the extent that it is definitely stronger now than it was back in 2016 – is the sheer rude and arrogant behaviour of unelected people like Donald Tusk. Quite extraordinary. People hate it. You could have thought they have learnt the lessons but they are not learning any.
– Legitimate EU leaders have elected Mr. Tusk. What is your problem with it?
– The voters do not elect him and the voters cannot remove him. Just the same is the Commission. It is the whole structure here, isn’t it? It is power without a counterbalance.
– He is just a sort-of-moderator of the EU leaders.
– A moderator… Fine! Keep his mouth shut then!
– Is Tusk’s statement completely false? He has been talking about those who orchestrated Brexit without a plan to deliver it safely.
– It is utterly baseless. And we had a plan: get out! Out of the customs union, out of the single market…
– …but how? Leaders from your homeland and from the EU are unable to agree on it for 2 years.
– You cannot negotiate with these people. Varoufakis was absolutely right when he made the case during those Greek negotiations by saying they were dealing with bad people. We wasted 2,5 years… it is time to say goodbye. It is the only thing to do with these people. And then of course they come running down the street after us because they have BMW and the French wine industry smashing their doors in saying “why we have got tariffs now setting our boots into the UK“. You cannot negotiate with people like Barnier. It literraly is a complete waste of time. We have a template, it is called World Trade Organization rules, most global trade exist on that basis. What is the problem?
– It brings back taxes, borders and repeals freedom of movement.
– Bring back the borders, absolutely! That is what we voted for. We want borders!
– What about freedom of movement?
– No! Of course we do not want that. That is what the referendum was about.
– Is it really such a bad thing to pop up anywhere in the EU without being stopped?
– Crime and drugs tell why it is a terrible idea. A shocking idea. I think it is better to have borders. Good fences make good neighbours. That is actually the way increasingly European voters feel as well. The guy who murdered six people in Berlin market could get there because of Schengen. We want some sense of control. We are an island so we have some advantages unlike Germany and France with that massive border, it is a much more difficult logistical thing to deal with. For us it is not. The freedom of movement of people led to a population increase in the United Kingdom unlike anything in our entire history. This is not about the against-immigration but it is about being in control of that.
For 25 years, I said that I wanted a free trade agreement with the European Union but with 43 days left it is too late
and the British prime minister has never even asked for it. We have now got into this trap with the Irish backstop that is just literally impossible, we had to be beaten in war to sign up for something as bad as that. So now I think the only thing we can do in a reasonable negotiation is to say we are leaving on WTO terms in 43 days – goodbye! And then I think they would come to us and probably start talking reasonably but on the current trajectory we just not gonna win.
– Are you looking forward to the 29th of March?
– Well, it is not my choice. My choice would be to literally lay it down as an ultimatum.
– Which means you have no idea how will your own country look like on the 30th of March, do you?
– You can never tell what freedom looks like but at least if you got it, you got it. If I voted remain in 2016, here I am now being told about a European army. The dynamics on both sides of this argument is changing all the time.
– Would you say your homeland is as strong as it was before the Brexit referendum?
– It is stronger. We have record unemployment levels, wages now rising, immigration has finally begun to come down,
thanks God, we are not getting the flood from Eastern Europe we had before.
It is still very high but tempered. And the whole world is reaching out to us.
– Isn’t strength about enforcing you interests which you could do within a multilateral institution like the EU?
– Free from the European Union, we will be able to strike alliances all-over the world. In the European Union we become pretty much a non-country. We lose our voice on the world stage, as an EU member we do not exist – none of us exist as we are represented by Brussels officials. This is Britain’s chance to cut loose.
– The fact of the matter however is that one of your favourite EU countries, Romania, is part of the club that dictates the conditions of Brexit. Is multilateralism really that harmful?
– If we walk away, they will not set the conditions.
– Who is to blame for the current situation?
– Above all, the British prime minister. She never really believed in Brexit. She tried to follow the course of half-in, half-out and it does not work. When there is a fork in the road, you have to make a decision, you go one way or another and she is trying a little bit of both and it has been a mess.
– Isn’t it regrettable to be uncertain?
– You guys lived under Communism run from the Soviet Union. If you want to go back to that, you can do that but we are leaving this system.
– Do you really make equals sign between the two?
– Totally. At least this one did not kill people.
– So if you look out from your window here in Strasbourg, you can see the same oppressed people like we were 30 years ago.
– I can assure you when you go into Article 7 procedures, you effectively are not free people.
– Perhaps the Hungarian government has done something to earn it.
– Even by saying that, you bow into the concept of a higher authority. You either believe in the nation state and democratic self-determination or not.
– By that, you suggest that a freely-elected leader can do whatever he wants.
– They are subject too the electorate in their country, provided if there is a functioning democracy. The EU is a right-wing Communism run by big companies and an autocratic center with a direct influence on whatsoever.
– You have already mentioned Varoufakis but another EU leader you have been praising for years is our prime minister, Viktor Orbán.
– I have long thought he is a very interesting leader…
– What does it mean exactly?
– He actually believes in things. He does not sheepishly, slavishly go along with the European project as he firmly believes in the concept of the nation state. He clearly is a strong defender of, as he sees, the Hungarian culture and he is not afraid to say and do these things despite huge criticism from the European Union.
– Which mostly criticises him for other things than his “EU-realistic“ statements.
– With the Soros thing I agree with completely of course. His influence is all across the Western democracies.
– Critics of Orbán also mention the erosion of the rule of law and the free press.
– I just do not see it is being true, as far as the judiciary is concerned. There is a lot of Communism alive in Hungary today and in all-over the former Soviet bloc. Leaders in Hungary and in Poland are trying desperately to get rid of those old legacies. This is what I see.
Do I see Orbán as a little authoritarian monster? No I do not. He represents much more the future of Europe.
Europe is going to become very much less focused on the EU and Brussels and very much focused on the nation states and national interest and that is the whole drift and change of politics in Europe. God knows why he comes here that often. It makes him more popular at home I think. He comes and gets abused by everybody then gets back and it helps his rating.
– You are about to come back too as you have indicated you were to be an MEP-candidate in May. Why?
– Because the threat needs to be there. The bigger the threat, the more chance there is a Brexit happening.
– So you are The Threat.
– Yes and that threat could become a promise. I am hoping that just the very existence of that threat makes Brexit more likely to happen and what I am really trying to do is to stop the extension from happening.
– Have you happened to hear that in the Russian social media a new verb, brekzit, was born? It describes people who address the host a long farewell but eventually they are not willing to leave. Even Russians mock you, doesn’t it bother you?
– No, we are a great country, far better than any other country in Europe and Brexit will prove it. What history would say is why did we have to join the EU? Why would any country really give up the right to self-government? Doesn’t it go against the whole history and struggle of humankind for freedom?
Cover picture: European Parliament/Geneviève Engel