By John Chalmers and Gabriela Baczynska
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, declaring himself a “freedom fighter” for national sovereignty, rejected on Friday a plan that would force European Union member states to welcome asylum seekers.
In an interview with Reuters, Orban also denied charges that he flouts democracy and said he would continue to resist those who want an “empire-like” EU built around its institutions rather than its member states.
“When somebody says that democracy can be only liberal it’s an oppression. I have to fight against it in the name of intellectual freedom,” he said. “Sometimes in Brussels I have a feeling that I am still a freedom fighter.”
Orban, 57, has crossed swords with other EU leaders over his moves to put the judiciary, non-governmental organisations, media and academics under more state control in his central European state.
Critics in the EU say he defends