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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the passing out ceremony for law enforcement cadets from the National University of Public Service

It is my honour to welcome the new graduates from the Faculty of Law Enforcement at the National University of Public Service, their teachers, friends and family members.

Honourable Oath-takers,

Hungary is a European state with a history stretching back a thousand years. And Buda Castle is the centre – the very heart – of this thousand-year-old Hungarian state. This is why the new law enforcement graduates from the Public Service University pledge their oaths to the service of the homeland here in Buda Castle. It was twenty years ago when I first stood here at an oath-taking ceremony for law enforcement cadets; and – just as two decades ago – today I see before me loyal, newly-qualified officers who are committed to their country and to the Hungarian people. According to the Ten Commandments, one must honour one’s father and mother, so that one may live long in the land. Therefore I shall first of all thank your parents for having planted in you and nourished a love for your country and for order. I thank them for having encouraged and supported you in your ambition to follow a career in law enforcement.

Dear Young People,

You have passed your examinations. On 1 July, 112 of you will begin your service in the Police Force, 24 at the National Tax and Customs Administration, 21 at the National Directorate General for Disaster Management, and 11 at the National Headquarters of the Prison Service. The oath which you have taken before the Holy Crown and the historical flags means more than the simple confirmation that you have joined a uniformed and armed organisation: with your oath you have also bound yourselves to a centuries-old tradition and many generations of distinction. From this day on you belong among those Hungarians who rallied to the flags of Hunyadi, Rákóczi, Kossuth and the 1956 Revolution: those who wanted Hungary to have freedom, security, order and a liveable future; those who were willing to risk their lives for such ideals, and who – when Fate demanded – were even prepared to lay down their lives. Today you have joined the ranks of the best in our country’s long history. You have joined the ranks of those who fought for our country generation after generation, and who knew of only one thing that they did not want to lose, because they felt it to be the most precious thing they could pass on to their children. They felt that love for their country would weave them into a shared and exceptional fate: the fate of the Hungarians, whose greatness embraced them all. I ask you, during your years of service, to think about the Hungarian homeland in this light.

Honourable Oath-takers,

There have been times when police officers were also collectively an instrument of oppression. Your parents can clearly remember a time when people were not quite sure whether they were facing the defenders of order or the enemies of freedom. They had no way of knowing whether the state’s armed personnel would protect them from adversity, or whether they would bring them adversity. It took many years for everyone to understand and believe that our armed officers indeed serve and protect us – and that it is indeed us whom they serve and protect. Since then Hungarian police officers have proved their aptitude many times. Whether the floods have been of water, red mud or migrants, the police have always stood their ground. Hungary can be proud that it has police officers who protect life and property, who can guarantee the security of everyday life, and who over the course of ten years have been able to cut crime by 50 per cent. We have police officers who, during the hardest of times, will go to our borders if that is what it takes to protect Hungarian families. This regained public trust is a great treasure – please take good care of it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Young People,

Today the Hungarian state is one of substance and consequence. We have important, sound laws which are created by Parliament; it will be your duty to enforce these laws – not only in relation to people born here, but also to everyone entering the territory of our country. I ask you to always keep in mind that without the tasks you carry out every law is merely a dead letter. If, however, you serve with commitment and show commitment in leading those serving under you, then Hungary will continue to be one of Europe’s safest countries.

Honourable Oath-takers,

Your profession and those of civilians differ from each other not only in terms of superficial appearances, and not only in terms of your uniforms and weapons. Your vocation is different in its essence. Like everyone, you too have ambitions in your everyday lives: a loving family, a fair salary, and recognition for a job well done. But above and beyond all this, what sets you apart from others is a certain governing precept. This precept is one which takes priority over all else, and is one which can be satisfied only by the most outstanding of people. This precept is expressed thus: “Honour alone!” Honour means courage, loyalty and respect. In your work may your heart never falter; may you remain loyal to your oath; may you respect your comrades, superiors and – above all – your country.

In your service I wish you much strength, health and every success.