Mr. Orbán was taking part in the discussion together with the Prime Minister of Ukraine and the prime ministers of the other Visegrád countries (V4). He highlighted that a generation of European politicians had a “secret dream” that the European Union could be a vehicle for the Member States to forget their own national and religious identities, to weaken their historical identities, and for these to be replaced with a new European identity. But, he said, it has turned out that there is no identity which can replace the existing ones. He added that it has now been confirmed that the countries which are successful are the ones which have strong identities.
Mr. Orbán argued that twenty years ago young people in Europe were told that if they go to school, study hard, respect the laws and work hard, they will make headway, and will have a more complete life than their parents. In most of the longer-standing EU Member States, however, young people today would laugh at us if we gave them such advice, he said. He explained why he believes that the European dream has moved to the Central European region.
Speaking about migration, the Prime Minister said that all the leaders on the stage with him are representatives of countries which have their roots in Christian culture, and therefore cannot behave “as if they had a stone where their heart should be”. We have conflicting emotions, he explained: on the one hand, we feel threatened by migration, and on the other hand, we feel sorry for migrants. He added that we must both help those in need and protect our identity. He confirmed what he had said in an earlier press release: we must not simply help, but help well. In other words, help must be taken to the places where the problems are; but this is not what Europe is doing today.
Mr. Orbán said that the flow of migration is coming from the South, and Hungary is the southernmost of the four countries in the V4. It is not true that the cause of migration is war, he said: the true cause is the fact that Europe is weak, but also rich, and it offers a good life which others covet. He said that we must make it clear that there is a legal procedure for entry to Europe; otherwise everything that we have worked so hard for will be lost, and we will be outgrown by another community, which has a stronger identity. Many people overestimate the integrating effect of multiculturalism, and underestimate the ability of those coming here to preserve their own identities, he said.
The Prime Minister stressed that we must protect the borders – though this is a difficult task. Mr. Orbán thanked everyone who is helping Hungary protect the southern border, and also asked those attending to look upon the Hungarians as brave soldiers in the border stronghold. This statement was received with applause.
Speaking about relations between the EU and Ukraine, the Prime Minister said that today Europe plays a less important role in Ukraine’s future than the United States or Russia do; and in the Western Balkans, Russia and Turkey may similarly eclipse Europe. In other words, he pointed out, if we want to help Ukraine, Europe must first regain its self-confidence and capacity for action, and the EU must be reformed and changed so that we can help.
At the end of the discussion the prime ministers also spoke about the possibility of launching a V4 television channel – an initiative which Mr. Orbán welcomed. He said that something similar was needed as long as ten or fifteen years ago, as thus “we would have been able to find our way out of the post-communist media world sooner”.