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Europe will be a Europe of nations, or not at all

In his speech, the Prime Minister stressed that, when it once more embraced the Central European nations, Europe became stronger, richer and more peaceful than it previously was. He said that strong nations have always made Europe successful, and that this is still true today: “Without successful nations, there is no strong Europe.”

He said that the Socialists, Liberals and Greens want a Europe which has lost its roots and its spiritual identity. In contrast, he declared the opposing vision :a Europe of nations which has “twenty-seven faces”, and which is “both Christian and democratic”.

The Prime Minister said that “We, the EPP, are the party of winners”, that victory “is in our DNA”, and that “We are accustomed to people seeing us as their own party, which belongs to them, which represents them and which fights for them.”

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Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI

As he sees it, instead of espousing “world-saving ideologies”, the EPP used to have both feet firmly on the ground – but this has changed.

Mr. Orbán said that over the past five years the EPP has been in a leadership position in Europe, and it must accept responsibility for “not being able to keep the British in Europe and the migrants out of Europe”. He noted that in 2011 the heads of government of sixteen Member States represented parties in the EPP, whereas today that number is only six, adding that “it is no wonder that our self-confidence has been dented and shaken”.

He warned that “if we want to win in 2019, and we do, we must find the path back to victory; it is high time for us to once more think, act and behave like winners”.

The Prime Minister said he believes that the European People’s Party must first restore its unity, and therefore it must never trust those who build their personal ambitions upon bringing critiques voiced by socialists and liberals into the EPP.

He went on to say that the grouping must return to its spiritual roots, and must proclaim “the renaissance of Christian democracy”, while abandoning “absurdities such as eulogising Fidel Castro and Karl Marx”.

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According to Mr. Orbán, what is most important for the EPP is the will to win. It must not listen to its opponents and must not measure itself by the standards of the Left and the liberal media, but must follow its own path: “If we seek to please them, then we will condemn ourselves to defeat”.

He said that the EPP must value its successes, because “those who fail to honour their own champions deserve failure”. He pointed out that in the European elections the member parties of the EPP must win in their home countries, and in order for the EPP to once again become a party of winners, it will need winning prime ministers.

The Prime Minister said that the key to victory is the same as it was earlier: the EPP must once more stand on the side of the people. “Let us protect them from illegal migration, terrorism, crime and economic woes,” he urged, encouraging his audience to “once more emblazon the old truths on our flag: ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’”.

Mr. Orbán made it clear that “we will line up in unity behind Manfred Weber”.

He thanked Mr. Weber for having visited Hungary during the Hungarian election campaign. “We respect you as someone who always knows when it is time for debate, and when it is time for unity”, he said, turning to the Bavarian politician who is the head of the EPP’s parliamentary group in the European Parliament, and who is running for the position at the head of the EPP’s list in the 2019 elections to the European Parliament. Former Finnish prime minister Alexander Stubb is Mr. Weber’s rival for the post of lead candidate, which the congress will decide upon on Thursday. If the EPP becomes the largest bloc after next year’s elections to the European Parliament, its lead candidate will be the next president of the European Commission.

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Mr. Orbán added that in Hungary next year Fidesz will do everything possible to contribute to the EPP’s victory.

In his speech the Prime Minister also drew attention to the fact that he was speaking on the eve of the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which he described as “a great moment, a moment when Europe was united once more.”

He pointed out that “We who were cast over to the Soviet Union had never accepted that there were two Europes”, and that the freedom fighters of Central Europe always knew there was only one Europe, and “that only in a reunited Europe could we regain our freedom”.

Mr. Orbán stressed that Fidesz was born amidst the battles fought for European reunification, and stressed that it is good to see that “in the EPP we are not the only anti-communist, pro-freedom and pro-European party from Central Europe”, citing members from Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria and the Baltic states. He described the event as an excellent opportunity to pay tribute to one of the EPP’s greatest ever statesmen, Chancellor Helmut Kohl, “who has left us since our last congress in Malta”. He reminded his audience that it was Helmut Kohl who invited Fidesz to join the European People’s Party, and that he was someone who understood that family members may disagree, but they always stand together.