The Prime Minister added that on Friday Ferenc Gyurcsány himself announced that they are ready to return. And if Ferenc Gyurcsány “returns, he will take us back to where we once were and to where not a bone in our body wants to be,” Mr Orbán said.
The Prime Minister recalled that this time last year the usual meeting had been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now 50 days before the elections, preparing for a ‘state of the nation’ address, one must be aware of two things: who we are and what we want to talk about, he explained.
He took the view that “this, in our community, has not caused us any problems so far”. “We who gathered together today are different people, but we have one thing in common. We’re Hungarians who share a passion for Hungary,” he stated.
He said they had unexpectedly learnt from the Left that “in actual fact, we’re mushrooms. Mushrooms who are kept in the dark and fed fertiliser”. They also learnt that “we who are additionally from the countryside and from villages are not even able to complete a crossword, and according to the Left, we’re drunk by ten in the morning,” he said. They further learnt that “as we support Fidesz, we must necessarily be abnormal and deviant”. And they additionally learnt from the Left that “there are also Jews in Fidesz, though not many,” “but there are plenty of homosexuals,” he said.
According to Mr Orbán, this may well be a new political strategy. “To insult people to the core, to mock people with disabilities, to affront people living in the countryside, to threaten pensioners, and to look down on women. No one has spoken to the Hungarians like this since time immemorial. You don’t want to believe your ears,” he stated.
He took the view that if this is a strategy, it must be a world patent. “De Gaulle may be right, everyone can speak, but a leader also knows when to remain silent,” he said, adding that “this is embarrassing; not a little, but a lot”.
He said the Left, though they are what they are, “form part of the nation like ill fate in the National Anthem”.
The Prime Minister said this is, however, “even more embarrassing over there. Gyula Horn is turning in his grave. Medgyessy is busy trying to look away, former members of the Free Democrats (SZDSZ) are looking at the tips of their shoes in confusion”. “Only Gyurcsány and Bajnai are not bothered; at the end of the day, they’re the ones who brought this whole show upon the neck of the country,” he said.
“The leaders of Hungary’s most corrupt governments, Gyurcsány and Bajnai, reinforced with a mushroom expert”: this is the great team that now volunteers to govern the country, this is the best offer of the Left, he said, observing that “one doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry”.
Mr Orbán described the past two years as “difficult years,” characterised by a pandemic, waves of mass migration, an energy crisis, imperial fits of rage from Brussels, the cold breath of the Cold War on our necks, and the disconcerting shadow of a war over Eastern and Central Europe. It was in this situation that they had to organise the fight against the pandemic, to restart the economy, to replace the lost jobs, and to provide support for young people, families and the elderly.
All these combined are one too many even when it comes to scoops of ice-cream, let alone tasks, he observed, saying thank you to physicians, nurses, paramedics, the organisers of the vaccination campaigns and members of the Operational Group for their superhuman efforts. He also said thank you to President of the Republic János Áder and his wife for the work with which they seek to help children orphaned during the pandemic. “Thank you, Mr President, for this as well,” he added.
According to Mr Orbán, Hungary was, however, attacked not only by the virus, but equally by the Left in the hope that they could topple the government.
When lockdowns were required, they demanded the lifting of lockdowns; when the time came to lift lockdowns, they demanded lockdowns again. They screamed ‘dictatorship’, organised smear campaigns, spread fake videos and fake news, combined with scaremongering, he said. Mr Orbán described this behaviour as grossly irresponsible, adding that to use the fears of millions of families amidst a deadly pandemic to try to topple the government is an indefensible act before any tribunal.
“The time will come for both: one of them on 3 April, the other as ordained by the Lord,” he observed.
He said the government remained united and calm also during the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s acting capacity was never in danger for a second, meaning that the new constitutional state leadership order introduced in 2011 passed the test with flying colours.
While in Europe governments fell one after the other, coalitions fell apart, the rules kept changing to the extent that they could not be followed, demonstrators in the thousands were restrained by the police, and people’s trust evaporated slowly but surely, in Hungary nothing of the kind happened, in Hungary they managed to preserve and even reinforce the people’s trust because according to the majority of people Hungary defended itself well against the virus, he stated.
He said since 2010 they have not only reorganised the state, but have also built a new Hungarian economy, and decided to give people jobs instead of benefits. He highlighted that despite the virus epidemic, never before since the fall of communism have this many people had jobs in Hungary: more than a million more people are now in employment than during the Gyurcsány Government.
He also drew attention to the fact that last year we managed to break another “brutal record,” Hungary’s exports increased to EUR 119 billion. Additionally, in 2010, the government also decided to ‘Hungarianise’ key sectors, reducing, as part of this, foreign ownership to below 50 per cent in the banking sector, the media and the energy sector. He added that they started from 60 per cent in the banking sector, from 66 per cent in the media and from 71 per cent in the energy sector, but now Hungarian ownership is in the majority in all three.
He stressed that also during the pandemic they managed to retain segments of the economy that had been previously taken into Hungarian hands, and even continued the re-acquisition of key companies, including the Tiszántúl gas and electricity provider. “The kurutz parts are now free, Pannónia is next,” he said.
He pointed out that despite the crisis, they also managed to boost the foreign investments of Hungarian capital as they decided earlier that Hungarian businesses operating abroad must bring back home as much profit as is repatriated from Hungary by foreign businesses operating here. This is the only way to keep the Hungarian economy in balance, he stated, listing the acquisitions of the gas and oil company MOL and OTP Bank abroad, and the foreign investments of Hungarian companies.
During the pandemic, families were likewise not required to pull on the handbrake, and the Prime Minister regards this as the greatest achievement of the Hungarian economy during the crisis.
The Prime Minister stressed that from this year they introduced tax exemption for the under 25s, families will shortly receive their tax refunds, and the 13th monthly pensions have also recently been delivered. The latter is not only an economic achievement, but equally genuine compensation, he pointed out.
“We’re giving back that which was taken away by the Gyurcsány-Bajnai Governments,” he added. “The country has worked hard for twelve years to make amends for the Left’s historical sin. Let’s appreciate it,” he stressed.
The programmes for Hungarians beyond the borders continued as well, the Hungarian government has built 170 new nursery schools and refurbished another 790 in Hungarian settlements beyond the borders.
Hungary continued to pursue its own path also during the crisis: rather than resorting to the recipes devised in Brussels, it adopted “the Matolcsy-Varga cure” for the restarting of the economy. Instead of stepping on the brakes, it overtook on the bend, he stated.
The risks were not insignificant, but as a result, in 2021 there was a 7 per cent economic growth, and the country more than compensated for the fall caused by the pandemic.
The sovereign debt was successfully kept below 80 per cent, expected to fall to 77 per cent by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the sovereign debts of France, Spain and Italy are all above 100 per cent of their GDP, he said, adding that Austria’s sovereign debt, too, is higher than Hungary’s.
He also said despite the pandemic, in 2022, the minimum wage will increase by 20 per cent, while the taxes levied on live work will decrease by 4 per cent.
Mr Orbán concluded, regarding the country’s economic results, that we are coming out of the present crisis stronger than we were going into it. “We didn’t give up our goals even during the pandemic,” he said in summary.
“We concluded an overarching national agreement, the parties to which included trade unions, employers, the government and Parliament putting its seal on the agreement. Naturally, excluding the Left which didn’t vote for anything,” he said.
He listed: the Left did not vote for the law serving as the basis for the fight against the coronavirus, the credit debt repayment moratorium, the minimum wage increase, the tax refunds of families, the tax exemption of the under 25s and tax reductions.
He also recalled that during times of crisis, the Gyurcsány-Bajnai Governments followed a path that was contrary to that followed by the incumbent government, “they went backward”. They took away the 13th monthly pension, an entire monthly salary and a whole year’s maternity benefit, did away with the housing programme and the tax benefits of families, and introduced fees in health care. Additionally, they doubled the price of electricity and tripled the price of gas.
He also said Hungary is surrounded by unstable regions, including the Western Balkans where, in his opinion, “the big boys” are all present, including the United States, the European Union, Russia and Turkey.
In his view, keeping the Balkans calm is simple: swift EU membership, a deal with Serbia, and an EU Marshall Plan. It is a shame that this is not happening, he observed.
According to Mr Orbán, in recent years, Hungary has gained in strength, and will not just sit and watch as the ill-conceived policies of great powers harm its neighbours.
“Neither Berlin, nor Brussels can pursue a Balkans policy against the Hungarians, but not even without us. We will not accept any Brussels decisions which are contrary to Hungary’s interests,” he stated.
In continuation, he said Hungary has a vested interest in peace, economic development and the integration of the region into the EU, and therefore, sanctions, penal policies, lecturing or any other arrogance on the part of the great powers are out of the question.
According to the Prime Minister, instead of talking about the Balkans, we must talk to the Balkans, it is possible to reach a peaceful settlement that is acceptable for all parties.
Regarding the Russia-Ukraine conflict, he said we must seek to avoid a war, not only out of humanity, but also due to Hungary’s interests as in the event of a war, refugees in the hundreds of thousands or even millions would arrive in Hungary from Ukraine, and this would redraw the very foundations of Hungary’s political and economic situation.
He recalled that the country was not in an easy situation even when in the 1990s tens of thousands of people came to Hungary from the former Yugoslav territories. Far more people would come from Ukraine, most likely without any hope of returning, he added.
He said Hungary is working for peace; however, the designated state agencies have started the necessary preparations. “Even in the event of a war, we have an appropriate scenario and action plan,” he stated.
Mr Orbán said, due to its size, military and economic strength, Hungary is unable to exert decisive or even indispensable pressure on relations between the EU, the West and Russia.
He added at the same time that Hungary never concealed the fact that it regarded Brussels’ strategy as flawed and the sanctions against Russia as a dead-end street.
He said without economic cooperation with Russia, Europe continues to remain “anaemic and pale,” rejecting cooperation and handing over enormous economic opportunities entirely to China is a strategic mistake.
He said as they are unable to change the EU’s foreign policy, they have devised a Hungarian model: the country is a member of NATO and the EU, and in the meantime, it maintains balanced political and economic relations with Russia.
He described his recent visit to Moscow as a peace mission because, in his view, the ice of frozen relations must be broken and a path for negotiations must be opened. “Hungary has no nuclear-powered icebreakers, but we do have a pickaxe, and sometimes even the slightest crack is enough for common sense to break forth,” he said.
Regarding the country’s security, he highlighted that there must always be a territory of appropriate depth and width between Hungary and Russia. Ukraine’s independence and viability is a direct Hungarian interest, he stated.
Mr Orbán also mentioned that Hungary supports the improvement of Europe’s military capabilities and the development of a common defence force.
In this context, he highlighted that they had embarked on the building of a modern Hungarian army. He indicated that the extra bonus now paid to members of the defence forces amply expresses society’s appreciation for the work of soldiers, but this in itself is not enough, there is much work to do yet.
We need a national army of our own because not a single ally of ours will risk their skin for Hungary instead of the Hungarians, he laid down. “We know from Clint Eastwood that if there is a gun around, we want to be controlling it,” he said.
Mr Orbán also said whenever the Left govern, there is no money. “It’s the same old story,” he observed.
The Prime Minister said today developments worth thousands of billions of forints are under way, the number of poor people and the rate of poverty have decreased, the middle classes are becoming ever stronger, the minimum wage is now higher than the average wage was during the Gyurcsány-Bajnai Governments.
There is money, and if we are allowed to continue governing the country, there will be, he said, mentioning as an example that they will spend three times as much on the development of the countryside as they have done to date.
He said in a workfare economy, money comes from work, taxes are lower, incomes increase, people buy things and invest, and it is worth working.
According to Mr Orbán, “we could have even asked the Gypsy to play our favourite song” had inflation not dented the side of European economies. By his account, in the United States, inflation is at 7.5 per cent, a forty-year peak, and there are countries in the EU where it is above 10 per cent. This would be the situation in Hungary, too, if the government did not keep protecting families, he stated.
He said the government did not just sit around, observing “the rampant galloping of prices”: they introduced “a policy of four ceilings,” the ceiling on fuel prices, the reduction of household energy bills, the ceiling on interest rates and the ceiling on foodstuffs.
He added that in the European Union the price of electricity is the lowest in Hungary, while the price of gas is the third lowest. The reduction of household energy bills works, Hungary’s example is now being adopted by France and Spain, he said.
He stressed that in Hungary the price of fuel is the fifth lowest in Europe. Today we pay HUF 480 for a litre, but without a ceiling, the price would be well above HUF 500, he said, taking the view that the price ceiling has proved its worth also in this area, and they will therefore extend it by another 3 months.
The ceiling on interest rates protects families with mortgage loans, while the ceiling on foodstuffs helps everyone, but people in the lower income brackets the most, he said.
Mr Orbán highlighted that they will maintain and also extend family grants. “We won’t give up on the goal that raising children should create a favourable financial situation, instead of financial hardships. There will be children, there will be money and we will protect families. This is the way forward,” the Prime Minister laid down.
Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, the Prime Minister said it had not spared Hungary either, “but at least we were among the first to wake up”.
Hungary was among the first to set up an operational group, Hungary was among the first to procure ventilators and to prepare hospitals to receive coronavirus patients, we were among the first “to procure the necessary vaccines” and “to inoculate more than half of the people,” and “we were among the first to restart the country,” he listed.
Meanwhile, the government “set right” the salaries of physicians, did away with gratitude payments in healthcare, and separated private and state care, he said, remarking that they did all this on the basis of an agreement concluded with the Hungarian Chamber of Doctors, “in peace and agreement”.
Mr Orbán also spoke about the development of the healthcare industry, thanks to which “today we manufacture everything we need or may need in the event of another pandemic,” he said, mentioning face masks, ventilators and other medical supplies as examples.
He specifically mentioned the vaccine plant now being built in Debrecen which could be commissioned at the end of 2022. “We guarantee that, should the need arise, Hungarian healthcare and the Hungarian pharmaceutical industry will receive further pandemics in full armour,” the Prime Minister stressed.
Regarding the migrant crisis, Mr Orbán said every day hundreds are attempting to forcefully enter the territory of Hungary: last year, 122,000 attempts were made, while this year in January alone as many as over 12,000.
He added that so far Hungary has spent more than HUF 600 billion on the protection of its borders.
He also said the protection of the borders requires permanent preparedness, tenacity and perseverance. It is hard work, and additionally “we must also watch our backs because we can’t be sure about Brussels either. That’s where George Soros’s agents are gathering […], the army of scribes, experts and advisors who regard nation states as the enemy, but at least as a remnant from the past, and of course, the wolves of global capital who sense the smell of money in everything, including in migration” who are all working hard to have migration accepted as “an unstoppable historical necessity,” he stated, observing that there are countries where their endeavours have already met with success.
He highlighted that the Hungarian defence lines will only stand at the border as long as the present government is in power.
He said “if we allow the pro-migrant Brussels bureaucrats to help the actors of the Gyurcsány Show – who are pathetic and dangerous all at once – to government, they will open the borders. And once they let them in, we won’t be able to undo things. There will be an open society here that our grandchildren will have to endure, if they will still be here at all.”
Mr Orbán also said Brussels and Hungary have different views on what constitutes Europe’s valuable traditions, on the future of nations and now the family, and even on the binary structure of society – based on men and woman – and so on the future of our children.
He pointed out that on this issue they will not yield an inch, on 3 April with the referendum they will protect children. “The father is a man, the mother is a woman, and they should leave our children well alone,” he stated.
According to the Prime Minister, what lies at the bottom of the differences between Brussels and Hungary is that “we experienced the end of the Cold War completely differently” than Western countries not occupied by the Soviets, including the United States. They did not live in dictatorships, “but we did,” and “freedom was not gifted to us, we fought for it,” he pointed out.
The Cold War was won by the Poles, the Czechs, the Hungarians, the Germans, the Bulgarians, the Romanians, the Estonians, the Latvians and the Lithuanians. “According to our information, anti-communism and the national ideal won the Cold War by having restored nation states. By contrast, they believe that their liberal democracy prevailed over communism. Even now – as back then – a global world, rather than a world of nation states is at the centre of their thoughts, and therefore George Soros truly is their hero.
He also said while “as far as we know, we live in a constitutional system based on the rule of law […] which is clearly laid down in and protected by the Fundamental Law,” “for them the rule of law is a means with which they can shape us into an entity similar to themselves”. Therefore, they are not interested in facts and arguments, “they’re waging a crusade,” “a rule of law jihad,” he concluded.
Mr Orbán referred to the upcoming parliamentary elections as “a matter of life and death” in which the stakes are enormous. He observed that “we would finally like an election that is not a matter of life and death, but one that is simply about electing a good government”; however, this is not possible now.
The Prime Minister said the government is developing the capital, but it is nonetheless characterised by “chaos, filth, homeless people and traffic jams, corruption, incompetent leaders, arrogance and laziness”. “Gyurcsány’s people are all sitting there by the till, while Bajnai is nicely and quietly operating a system of commission pay-outs,” he said, adding that two years of botched left-wing governance have been enough to do all that.
He remarked: everyone can see that they are going backward, not forward.
He said the Left have now come up with the idea that those who join them “should leave behind their old lives as Christ’s disciples abandoned their fishing nets”. This is now “the umpteenth left-wing candidate for redeemer,” this is how Ferenc Gyurcsány, too, started out, he underlined.
He said since 2010 “they have wanted to sell us the tale of the changed and renewed, organised and re-organised Left four times,” but the Hungarian people will not stomach this for the fourth time either. It is to be hoped that if they are defeated this time, “they won’t be able to make enough mini Feris” to take on the challenge again, he said.
He took the view that they know the opponent, “we will slowly be able to call Uncle George’s paratroopers by their names,” and “the mercenaries coming from Brussels won’t be deployed against us for the first time either”. Now, however, we do not have to worry about them; “we’ve never been as strong, well-organised and determined as we are now,” he stated.
“Saddle your horses, the campaign has started, it’s time for us, too, to ride out. You should expect our approach in fifty days’ time from the right,” Mr Orbán said in conclusion.