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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Kossuth Radio’s “180 Minutes” programme

Éva Kocsis: – Twenty-five minutes to eight. We have Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in the studio. Good morning.

– Good morning.

– You have said that the National Consultation was successful. In spite of this, however, new posters have now appeared. Why would Soros have the last laugh?

– Well, there is a plan, the implementation of which – or attempts at implementation – can be seen every day by European citizens, including Hungarian citizens. They want to bring one million migrants into Europe every year. This is one of the points of the Soros plan. And a development over the past week is that they are trying to set up a European institution, an asylum authority at European level, which would appropriate these powers from the nation states. According to this, we would not decide who we accept into our countries. Indeed, this would also deprive nation states of distribution activities related to the admission of refugees. This is the second point in the Soros Plan. So before our eyes a plan is emerging, and now we can clearly see that we are not talking about political refugees: they are not the ones he wants to bring into Europe, but economic migrants. While people were coming from Syria, it was possible to argue about who is a political refugee and who is coming to Europe for economic reasons. Even political refugees had no automatic right to come to Europe, because the Geneva Conventions state that there is no à la carte asylum process. Asylum must be accepted in the first safe country which offers it. But this debate has now been sidelined, because clearly more than eighty percent of those coming from Africa are economic migrants. This is openly acknowledged by the Western Europeans – even the European governments supporting migration, who want to bring them into Europe. George Soros’s plan is being implemented in Brussels. I think it is right for Hungarians to see this.

– We’ll come back to this, and especially to the Libyan coast. But let’s talk about the words of the First Vice-President of the European Commission. When speaking about cohesion funds, he asked what would have happened in 1956 if the prime ministers of Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg and the Chancellor of Germany had said that Hungarians don’t belong there culturally, and that they would change their culture to an unacceptable degree. What would have happened?

– Those governments would have fallen, along with their prime ministers, because Hungary is a Christian country which is part of Europe. Anyone who denies this fact now, or did so earlier, might as well have their stupidity tattooed on their foreheads. Nothing like that would have been said by anyone back then, and neither would anyone say it now. This is quite apart from the fact – which is unfair on Hungarians if one ignores it – that when the Hungarians had to flee, in Hungary we were truly at war with the Soviet Union, and nobody simply marched across the border. Obeying the border guards’ instructions, they all compliantly went to the Austrian refugee camps in an orderly manner. We know many people like this, and there may be someone like this in every family. They can tell us that they stayed peaceablyin the Austrian refugee camps for years, before being distributed among third countries. But for people just to set out, trample across fences where they exist, cross borders, openly state that will they violate European and national laws, and tell us where they want to go, and that no one can stop them – well, there was nothing like that in 1956.

– How tense was the atmosphere at the latest EU summit – either in connection with Hungary or the issue of migration?

– At every EU summit the atmosphere tends to become tense when the issue of migration comes up. This is like being at the family table when some members of the family want something that they dare not admit to openly; the others are against it, and it is therefore difficult to talk about the matter openly and frankly. This is the case in this instance also. Some European countries want to implement this Soros-conceived plan through Brussels: they want to bring in and impose on us a million migrants every year. They dare not openly say so, but this is the point of every action they take. When we draft documents, I try to clarify and plainly state that the goal is to stop refugees and immigrants and the entire wave of mass migration: that migrants must be stopped. But they never allow anything like that to be adopted, because they always want to see documents which say that well-managed migration benefits Europe. But there’s no agreement on this. Because while there may well be prime ministers and governments who think that this is beneficial for Europe, there are others – including myself – who believe that it isn’t. And, if I’m not mistaken, the majority of people also think that this is not beneficial for Europe. Everyone is increasingly calling for a halt to migration.

– Since you’ve mentioned the example of a family, we’ll come back later to the family atmosphere in the European Union. Let’s talk about civil society organisations, or NGOs. It’s worth reiterating that at the beginning of April 2017 the prosecutor of the city of Catania in Sicily said that one cannot rule out the possibility of North African people smuggling organisations being behind certain NGOs. He claimed that he’s aware of connections between NGOs and people smugglers. Then on 28 April the Italian interior minister said that this is just a generalisation, and it’s too soon to judge. Then on 3 July the Italian, French and German interior ministers began to develop a set of regulations on foreign non-governmental organisations rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean. Those who saw this NGO proposal by the Italians say that it will impose rather strict rules on the NGOs working there. In addition to supplying a list of crew members, and stating where they receive funding for their operations, it’s very… I suppose you’re familiar with this proposal.

– Italy is now faced with the same phenomenon that we – and I myself – were faced with in 2015, namely the so-called NGOs operating in Hungary. It would be good to find a more suitable term for them, as they’re not genuine non-governmental organisations, but the branch offices of international organisations and networks operating in a given country, such as in Hungary. We haven’t yet got a good term for this, and the words “civil society” or “non-governmental” are misleading. Anyway, back in 2015, when the principal migrant route ran through the Balkans, these international networks were doing what they’re doing in Italy now. Let’s be clear about this: they’re financed by George Soros. He’s got some sixty organisations in Hungary, for which he provides the funding. One way or another all pro-migrant organisations are associated with him – he finances them. They support activities related to the illegal crossing of borders, and they rescue criminals and terrorists. These groups provide legal representation for terrorists detained by Hungary for launching an attack on the Hungarian border at Röszke. These are all obvious facts which only the Hungarian left-wing news media and those on George Soros’s payroll are not prepared to acknowledge. But the whole world can see that there is an international financial headquarters, and there is a billionaire who is prepared to finance everyone who helps to implement his plan – from Italy all the way to the Balkans route. In other words, he supports NGOs which bring in, organise, smuggle in or transport migrants into the territory of Europe. The Italians, like us, have had enough of this. I expect to see ever more nations expressing their outspoken disagreement, and we shall reject these Soros-conceived plans. Change is happening country by country, and after Italy we await the next Member State to join our club.

– Italy’s been struggling with the problem for some time, and of course they’ve had enough. But when they raised the idea that migrants should not be transported to them, but to the shores of France or Spain, both those countries opposed the idea. Austria has indicated that it will seal its border and deploy troops if, for instance, the Italian coastline is closed to migrants and a backlog of migrants develops. These countries I’ve mentioned are in favour of migrant redistribution quotas.

– Well, everyone knows that we’re right. The truth is that these days it’s difficult to speak privately to a prime minister who does not, one way or another, partially or fully…

– But why only privately?

– They wouldn’t openly admit that the Hungarian model is a good one. The borders must be protected, migrants must be stopped at the borders, and no one can be allowed to illegally enter the territory of a country – everyone knows this. So I believe that the fact that the Hungarians were – and are – right is something of a basic assumption in Europe. But at this point in time, Europe is not being guided by the people; Europe is being guided by opinion makers who are linked to what is usually called “liberalism” by ties of ideology on the one hand – based on their intellectual beliefs – and of financial interests on the other hand. This is a team. They make decisions against the interests of their own countries by sidelining them, and at the same time they will never openly admit that we are right. But everybody knows that the distribution of the migrants who have already been let in is not the solution. The only solution is to not let them in at all; and this is why they should be stopped in Libya, as we did at the Hungarian border – and as the Turks did later at the Turkish border. At the same time, those who are already here in Europe but have no right to stay here must be taken out of Europe, rather than be passed around among ourselves, as if we were in some bad card game in which you pass your worst cards to other players.

– Bill Gates, The founder of Microsoft, has said that Germany’s open door policy has resulted in immigrants flooding Europe, whereas Europe’s duty should be to make it difficult for Africans to reach our continent via the current routes. He added that the problem should be solved there, at source, and his foundations have already donated more than a hundred million dollars to combat poverty. But the key question is obviously Libya. Stopping migration there sounds good, but we’re talking about a country where one doesn’t even know who to negotiate with.

– Let’s begin with this: Gaddafi should not have been killed. No one claims that there was exemplary, democratic, noble governance in Libya, but at least there was a government. This complete European insanity – which demandsthat principles which we employ are also applied in areas with civilisations different from ours – leads to the destruction of those countries, the destruction of the stability of the countries surrounding us. One may or may not have liked Gaddafi – I have my own opinion on that – but while he was alive refugees were unable to come through his country. There was no mass migration and there was no flow of migrants, because there was an agreement between Italy and the Government of Libya at the time. As Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi openly said – I was there at that meeting with him – that we shouldn’t kill Gaddafi, we shouldn’t bomb his country to ruins and we shouldn’t destroy the Libyan government, because then there will be no one to maintain the agreement concluded by the Italian prime minister with Libya, and then millions of migrants will flood Italy and Europe. So we, the prime ministers of Europe, are partly responsible for the situation which has developed. On the other hand, it’s also clear that if there’s no government, there’s no one to seek permission from to protect Libya’s northern shores – because European armed forces need to go there and protect those shores. This involves problems that need to be solved under international law. I don’t underestimate them, but these problems can be solved, and if there’s a will, there’s a way.

– The new European Asylum Support Office that you’ve mentioned gives us some idea about what proposed solutions or what proposed reforms France and Germany are preparing to put on the table. A scenario is emerging. I don’t know if it was mentioned at the latest EU summit, that the Europe of nations or integration…

– I’m sorry to interrupt you, but at that meeting we managed to prevent that being tabled. What happened was that we only discussed the so-called external dimension of migration, not the issue of distribution. For the time being we put aside the issue of what should happen to those who are already inside. We only discussed how we can protect our borders. I always say – and I’ll underline and repeat this – that if we start talking about how we’re going to distribute the migrants who have already come to Europe, those sitting at home in Africa can only take it as an invitation when they hear the news. It doesn’t matter how intelligently we frame it within the rules of European languages: if the news is that those coming to Europe will be distributed, this amounts to a letter of invitation. People will continue to set out until we clearly state that we’re not going to let anyone immediately into Europe, but we’ll detain them outside Europe, we’ll assess their applications there, and entry will then be granted only for those who we find to be legally entitled to it, and for whom there are European countries willing to take them in. Until we declare this, everyone able to set out from the interior of Africa will do so in search of a better life; and they will seek to go to Germany, Austria, Italy or Sweden.

– Fine, but the fact that you’ve avoided discussing the EU reform proposals this time doesn’t mean that you’ve managed to prevent the whole thing: you’ve simply delayed it, as at some point someone will have to answer the question of what will happen in the coming period. Core Europe, multispeed Europe – is there a scenario in your head, have you seen on your desk any proposal that you think you can support? For instance, if there’s a fast lane, can you envisage such a core Europe being workable?

– Our strategy is that those who gain time gain everything. We have faith in the European people, and sooner or later the European people will be able to assert their will. The European people don’t want immigrants, but the governments are simply failing to implement the European people’s will; and I sincerely hope that the voice of the European people will become louder, and that it will be increasingly difficult to resist. After all, we live in a democracy, and in a democracy leaders can always depart from the people’s will to a certain degree and for a while, but not for long and not to a substantial degree. Therefore I’m sure that there will be a turnaround in Europe, and, as we’re now observing in Italy, the people in the European democracies will force their governments to stop the influx of migrants. This will happen. We just have to hold on until then. We were the first, because the Balkans route was the first to open up. This is where Soros guided immigrants and migrants. We had to defend ourselves first, we had to speak in terms of protecting ourselves first. But more and more people share our position. And in the end I hope that this will be the common position across the whole of Europe.

– In this process, what role is played by the fact that the V4 are conducting talks with the Turks, and what role is played by the fact that, before going to the G20 summit, the US President delivered a speech in Warsaw – and not only speaking about political cooperation, but also about various economic and energy concepts? In addition to the V4, the role of the nations of the Three Seas Initiative will also gain in significance. So where do these elements stand in the entire process?

– What we can say for certain is that on the issue of migration the positions of the United States and the Central Europeans fully coincide. On the issue of migrants the US President and we, the leaders of the V4 countries, have the very same opinion: the borders must be protected, migrants must be detained, fences or walls must be erected if need be, and we cannot allow illegal immigrants to jeopardise the safety of our own peoples, our own fellow citizens. It is the primary duty of every government to protect the security of its own citizens. This is the view the Central Europeans take, and this is also the view taken by the Americans. So we have agreement on this. There are economic cooperation schemes. If we look at Hungary, this is not expressed in cooperation between the two governments, because in the United States there’s no state-run economy: instead we see the activities of private American companies in Hungary. These break records year on year. So there’s good cooperation – and of course our military cooperation is also good, as we are a member of NATO. At any rate, it is important – and I cannot yet precisely determine the significance of it, I need a few days to think about it – that it was in Central Europe that the President of the United States decided to deliver his first major public speech on policy in Europe: not in the established Western European region, but in Central Europe – and in Warsaw at that. I believe that this has some meaning, significance and weight.

– Is there any potential in the energy policy he spoke about? There’s also tension between Russia and American emerging on this. This situation is also very interesting in terms of the Hungarian presidency of the V4, and what happens in the V4, or among the countries of the Three Seas Initiative.

– When we speak about energy, we have to say that in recent years Hungary has significantly strengthened its energy positions and energy independence. Because it was a long time ago, we don’t remember this now – or only few of us do – but I had to repurchase 25 per cent of MOL: half of this from the pockets of Russians, let’s say. I eventually managed to agree on this with President Putin. So Hungary protected its largest energy company. At the time this was a major achievement. After that we managed to agree on extension of the life of the blocks at the existing Paks nuclear power station. As part of an enlargement project, we’ll also be able to build new blocks there. We have built a gas pipeline running in a northerly direction, which means that via Slovakia we can also connect to gas pipelines carrying gas of non-Russian origin. On the whole I can say that in recent years Hungary’s vulnerability in energy has been radically reduced. If I add to this that we’ve even managed to repurchase some Hungarian energy providers privatised by Western companies and to reacquire storage facilities, I can say that Hungary is able to control its own energy situation. I rank these measures among the great successes of the past few years. Undoubtedly there is a rivalry: the Americans want to sell gas to Europe, transported to Europe on huge LNG container ships, and the Russians also want to sell us gas. Both sources are accessible for us, and we are the customers. In school I learnt that competition is good, because if there’s competition, the customer gets to buy the goods at a cheaper price. So let those who are able to sell gas in Europe compete for our money. We’ll buy the cheapest.

– Does any of what you’ve just talked about coincide with the priorities of the Hungarian presidency of the V4?

– On the issue of energy, there’s agreement on one aspect, while there’s no agreement on another. The main area in which there’s no agreement is the German-Russian cooperation known as Nord Stream, in which the Russians and the Germans are jointly… of course, meanwhile the Germans are arguing for sanctions against Russia – but enough about the peculiarities of politics in the West. So there’s a large project under way there: Nord Stream 1 has already been built, they’re now building Nord Stream 2, and there’s a debate on whether to allow Russian gas to bypass Ukraine and be transported directly to Germany – and thus to Western Europe. On this issue there are divergent positions across the whole of the European Union – and likewise in the V4.

– Do you perceive the division among the Visegrád Four which the Austrian Chancellor referred to? He said that the Czech Republic and Slovakia are on one side, while Poland and Hungary are on the other.

– Well, in politics it’s never wise to mix reality with one’s desires. I understand that it pains the Austrians that they are not included in the V4 cooperation. Austria is a country that tends to stand alone, without partners: we don’t even know precisely who they consult on their strategic interests, and how. In Central Europe the orientation Austria seeks for itself has been a historical question ever since the dissolution of the Dual Monarchy. Up to now Austria has been a very successful country, and we salute them for this: if we draw a timeline from World War II to today, we can see that Austria has achieved the highest living standards, the highest increase in living standards, and the highest economic growth. So it’s a talented country. But in foreign policy terms it is at a loss: it’s a member of the European Union, but not a member of NATO; and it belongs to Central Europe, but it’s not a member of the V4. So there are plenty of uncertainties. Our Austrian friends shouldn’t hope to break the unity of the V4. The fundamental principle of the V4 is simple: one for all, and all for one.

– The World Aquatics Championships will start in a week’s time. There’s a lot of criticism about the cost, and that the venues are not being completed on schedule. At any event, in a week’s time the world will turn its attention to Hungary. Based on the timetables and reports that you’ve seen, are preparations on track?

– We’re doing extremely well. I’d like to thank all those who have taken part in the work. In advance I’d like to thank the volunteers for their work, and I especially wish to thank the security organisations for their efforts, as it’s not easy to manage an event such as this unerringly, and to guarantee security. Hungary has never hosted an event on such a scale, so now we’re entering a higher dimension. Every Hungarian should see the World Aquatics Championships as a test of strength, and we’ll see what we’re capable of. We’ve never had the courage before to try our hand at something on this scale, but I believe we can succeed. We’ve achieved great things over the past six to seven years; while these are things of a different nature, on the whole they are aspects of a certain spiritual disposition – namely that we’re capable of things which we’d not thought ourselves capable of. I can see manifestations of this in a variety of areas: sending the IMF home; accountability for banks; organising a FINA world championships which tens of thousands of people will attend; our ability to regulate multinational corporations; and our ability to make progress on the issue of energy independence. These are all things which were previously seen as impossible. Personally it drives me mad when people try to explain to me why something can’t be done, instead of demonstrating what we’re capable of – and the FINA Championships are a good opportunity to do so. The city has developed enormously as a result. In connection with the world championships, we’ve implemented developments which would have been necessary anyway, which those living in the city – those who call Budapest their home – would have required anyway, but which would only have been implemented years later, or not at all. We should mention the renewal of the whole of Margit Island – just take a look. We have renewed all the facilities where Budapest parents take their children for swimming sessions on early mornings. We’ve implemented flood control projects – in Budapest we always used to have problems when the water level was high. We’ve renovated the entire Dagály Bathing Complex, which is very popular in the city. We’ve also extended the lower embankment, and built promenades. So I can say that we’ve implemented an urban development programme which we would hardly have had the opportunity to implement without the World Aquatics Championships – or at least not within such a short time, as we’ve implemented all this in just two years. I believe that this is good for the people of Budapest, and they will also enjoy its blessings after the championships, because all this adds to the Hungarian nation’s self-confidence – provided everything goes successfully. It does this because we can not only show the world what we’re capable of – that’s one thing, but I’m less interested in that – but we can show ourselves that we can do more than we usually think we can.

– You’ve been listening to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.