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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the oath-taking ceremony for non-commissioned police officers

Esteemed Oath-takers,

I welcome you, your parents and family members here in the square of the nation’s heroes. The Hungarian hero is a unique figure. Heroes for us here in Hungary are not those who conquer and enslave others, but those who are brave enough to take the fate of their country into their own hands. Heroes for us here in Hungary are those who protect and defend that which is ours, our freedom, our families, our way of life and our country. Heroes for us are those who take an oath to do this, and are true to their oath. Today you have taken an oath to defend the borders of Hungary, and our wider homeland of Europe. Centuries have stormed across the banks of the Danube, but have failed to erode the solemnity of the oath, the solemnity of oath-taking. For us Hungarians, the nation of István Dobó and Miklós Zrínyi, your oath is the most solemn thing that young people can undertake for their country. Therefore, in addition to the love of your parents and spouses, you now also command our respect. Please accept our fraternal respect.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are some who think that we should allow the future of Europe to be decided by others in some distant centre of empire. By contrast, we believe that the future of Europe is not written in some centre of empire, but in the capitals of the European nations: in Warsaw, Paris and Berlin – or, for that matter, here in Budapest. But there are some who would accept that the future of Hungary, too, should be decided by others somewhere else. We have seen this before, we know how it happens, and we also know that it ends in oppression and impoverishment. We must therefore insist that the Hungarian people alone should have the right to decide on the fate of Hungary. Had we allowed others to decide for us, hundreds of thousands of immigrants of unknown identity would still be flooding into Europe through Hungary. All those claiming to be refugees would still be crossing our borders without screening. We Hungarians did not listen to the siren calls which declare that a civilised person and a civilised country admits without hesitation everyone transported by people smugglers to its borders. We did what common sense and our history dictate: we stopped the flow. When at its peak the migrant invasion bore down heavily on us, we did not raise our hands in surrender, we did not complain, we did not wait for others, we did not look for excuses, and we were not afraid that others would denigrate and criticise us. Instead we organised our defence: we erected a fence, we introduced a legislative border barrier, and we supplied sufficient numbers of well-trained border guards. We were the first to proclaim, to demonstrate and to prove that the mass population movement that was thought to be unstoppable can indeed be stopped and can be turned back. We were also the first to declare that we would not let anyone force on us masses of people whose identities and intentions are completely unknown to us.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Esteemed Oath-takers,

Regrettably our turbulent history has taught us, we have learnt to our cost, that it is not enough to simply build a line of defence on our borders: it must be repeatedly reinforced. In “The Eclipse of the Crescent Moon”, Géza Gárdonyi wrote that “the strength of walls does not lie in the stone, but in the hearts of the defenders”. If there is no border defence, if there are no brave men and women to guard our borders, there is no prosperity, there is no security, there is no order, and there is no progress either. Then all we have will be uncertainty, fear, chaos, anger, and trucks driving into crowds of people. We Hungarians want to live in safety. To achieve this, it is not enough for you to set an example of humanity, of resolve, and above all, an example of law enforcement once, twice or three times: you have to set such an example each and every day. We expect an example from you about which word will quickly spread, so that no people smuggler or terrorist will even consider entering Europe on this route. This will demand strength, determination and will. It will demand perseverance and courage when tens of thousands are besieging the border, and alertness if only a few hundred are trying to enter. Every single person apprehended crossing the border unlawfully sends the message that no one can enter illegally.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Esteemed Oath-takers,

Hungary can be a strong and courageous European country because it has young people who have chosen as their calling the protection of the motherland. Thank you. And we also thank the families, the mothers and fathers and the grandparents who raised you to enlist in the service of your country here today, in the square of the heroes of the Hungarian nation. Hungary depends upon you, and you can also depend upon the Hungarian government. Be brave and resolute. Guard over the sleep of millions of Hungarian families and European citizens. I wish you good fortune, effective service, and good comradeship. God bless you!