Hungary’s leader: European Union seeks to undermine border defense…

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says he is ready to confront a

Orban said this is the stance he would represent at a meeting of European Union leaders in Salzburg later this week.

It is unacceptable for the European Union to strip Hungary of its right to protect its borders, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told parliament in Budapest on Monday.

"The European Parliament rightly stood up for the Hungarian people and for the EU".

Since coming to power, his government has taken a hard-line stance against immigration.

In a debate prior to the vote, Orban portrayed the charges as an insult to the honour of Hungarians, but a poll in the left-leaning Nepszava newspaper Friday indicated some 57 percent of respondents pinned the blame on government policies.

Mr Orban presents himself as the defender of Hungary and Europe against Muslim migrants.

He said the environment secretary had declined the opportunity to distance himself from Mr Orban's "authoritarian and anti-democratic practices", adding: "Theresa May should do what Gove failed to do and condemn the Hungarian government".

The setback for Orban is unlikely to change Budapest's approach to its tangles with the Soros-founded Central European University (CEU) and human rights NGOs, or its clampdown on judicial independence.

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As abstaining votes had not been counted, he said that changed the outcome of the vote.

With fresh European Parliament elections on the horizon, Orban's rhetoric "could become even more hysterical", according to the analyst.

Orban's Fidesz party is a member of the EPP, but a dramatic rupture from it came more sharply into prospect on Wednesday after dozens of its MEPs turned on the Hungarian strongman in a crucial vote in parliament on a report that condemned his self-styled "illiberal state".

A series of street demonstrations challenging the legitimacy of the result drew tens of thousands of protestors but soon petered out.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the MEPs were not endorsing Mr Orban.

Meanwhile, pro-Orban newspapers have launched attacks against artists and directors of cultural institutions deemed critical of the government.

The far-right Jobbik party, which also opposes immigration, said that Orban was a hypocrite to oppose immigration while at the same time allowing tens of thousands of foreigners, mostly Chinese but also many Russians, to get Hungarian papers through the purchase of so-called residency bonds, a scheme discontinued previous year.

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