A warm welcome to you all. Good afternoon.
Honourable President and Executive Secretary,
First of all I would like to say a few words about the CDI [Centrist Democrat International]. This is necessary because Hungary is a European country which tends to focus its attention more on itself and the European Union, focusing less energy and attention on politics outside Europe. The CDI – of which, incidentally, I have been a vice president for almost twenty years – is an organisation which strives to create a world organisation, a world network, guided by certain values which we call the values of centrist democracy, or in other words Christian democratic values. And the CDI has been extraordinarily successful in this endeavour. As is the norm in the history of such an organisation, its increase in strength has come in waves: it has not been exponential, but in sudden surges. And we have organised this Budapest congress and session of the CDI executive committee in the hope of giving the organisation’s development – and the CDI itself – another significant thrust forward. But we also think that we can give a thrust forward to the integration of Central Europe, particularly that of the Balkan region; and in this respect we have set ourselves the goal of integrating into the organisation as many countries, as many parties as possible from countries of Central Europe and the Balkan region. Today decisions have been taken on this matter.
Naturally the first question is whether the CDI is important at all. To this I must answer by saying that there are times when it is especially important, and there are other times when it is less important. I believe that we are at the beginning of a decade in which organisations such as the CDI will be extremely important. The reason for this is that we all feel that around us the world is undergoing significant change. The CDI is an organisation which – as its name suggests – has Christian motivation, and consequently sees human dignity as the foundation of politics. Nevertheless, everywhere in this transforming world over the coming decades questions of identity will become the focus of political debates – whether we like it or not, whether we want it or not, and whether we benefit from it or not. This is particularly true in Europe, and it is most visible here, because migration has thrown into sharp relief questions relating to identities: Who and what is Europe? What does Christianity mean? Is there a cultural foundation on which these societies are built? Must these be surrendered, or must they be defended? Nowadays these are the questions which dominate public debate in Europe. If one observes our leaders in Europe, one can see that we have almost reached the point at which they talk about nothing else. But we are such an organisation, the CDI, which believes that the Christian culture is a valuable asset, that Christian culture must be preserved and that the politics which has grown out of Christian culture can benefit the world; and therefore it will play an important role in the debates of the coming decade. It is no accident that right after lunch we can take part in an international conference focusing on dialogue between religions: on how we can preserve our identities, without at the same time becoming one another’s enemies, but rather work together with one another standing on the foundations of strong identity. This is the great question to which the world must find an answer. My answer to the question about the importance of the CDI is that the CDI is important, and that it will also be important in the future.
As far as specific issues are concerned, I can say that we have decided to launch the establishment of a youth organisation within the CDI. So in Budapest there has been a decision for the CDI to have a youth wing. An important development is that the parties who have come here from the Caucasus have moved closer to the CDI: either by becoming members, or by receiving observer status. It is important that we have admitted new members from Latin America, but for us Central Europeans the most important development is that we have admitted new parties from Central Europe, from Macedonia, and we have brought into this organisation as full members the majority of Hungarian parties, the Hungarian parties of the region.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The CDI does not pretend that it has an answer to every question, but we believe that we are at least capable of asking good questions related to the future. And this is no small matter – this is a fine mission. Thank you very much to the CDI for enabling us to hold this session of the executive committee and the meeting of the leaders here in Budapest this year.