Action can be taken against migration
He said that although “we can talk about everything else”, on the issues of migration and defence of Christian culture there can be no compromise. The Hungarian people, he observed, have defined the mandate of the Government and Fidesz: “Christian culture is an asset […] ; we don’t want to become a mixed country; we don’t want migration; we want to preserve our security; and even without migrants we will be able to sustain Hungary’s biological future through our family policy.”
Speaking about the main fault line within the EPP, Mr. Orbán said that there are parties which want a Europe with a mixed population and which want to bring migrants into Europe, while there are other parties – including Fidesz – which want to preserve Christian culture and do not want migration. He said that Hungary was the first country to prove that it is possible to take action against migration and halt it, and “this is why we’ve found ourselves at the centre of disputes”, adding that “We have a number of options, and Fidesz will decide whether to continue within the European People’s Party or outside it”.
The Prime Minister pointed out that in the past few days he had been in a number of negotiations, including with: President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker; Manfred Weber, head of the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament – with whom he will have further talks; present and former prime ministers; and former heads of state. On Sunday he will travel to Poland to attend an anniversary celebration of the countries’ NATO membership. In this context he said that “I would much prefer it if we could transform or reform the People’s Party so that there’s room in it for anti-immigration forces such as us; but if it turns out that we have to launch something new in Europe – and it may well be that this is how this dispute will end, with our place being not within the People’s Party but outside it – […] then clearly the first place for us to start talks will be in Poland”. He noted that Poland’s governing party Law and Justice (PiS) is not a member of the EPP.
Mr. Orbán also announced that Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki will deliver a speech at Hungary’s national commemoration on 15 March.
Mr. Orbán spoke about his proposal for the establishment of a council comprising the interior ministers of Schengen Area countries, which he said he had already tested out in private discussions – on several occasions with former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, for example. The essence of this idea, he remarked, is that the European Commission has proved unable to cope with the migration issue, and so responsibility for this must be transferred to people who can adequately address the issue, returning it to the sphere of national competence. Thus nation states within the Schengen Area would establish a council of interior ministers with powers which would enable it to defend the external borders. In his view today Europe would be safer and better defended if in the past three or four years powers related to migration had been in the remit of the Schengen Area’s interior ministers.
Europe today is the continent of empty cradles
The Prime Minister reiterated that population growth and wars outside Europe, combined with climate change, will lead millions – and later tens of millions – of people to seek an alternative to staying in their homelands. He said that he sees this historic challenge as defining the lives of future generations, noting that “we are in the midst of a historic process”, and any government failing to respond to it would be committing a crime against its own people. “If we close our eyes we will end up just like the West”, he said, where migrants have become voters and the European Left serves their demands.
Speaking about the family protection action plan, Mr. Orbán said that Europe today is “the continent of empty cradles”. This, he said, is a problem that the Hungarian people do not want to solve through migration, but through the birth of Hungarian children. “We don’t want to create a mixed society made up of native Hungarians and migrants,” he stated, stressing that the Government must identify why young people have not been having the number of children they would like to have. Obstacles must be removed from their paths, he said, young people must be given opportunities, and Hungary must be transformed into a family-friendly country. He expressed the hope that sooner or later in Hungary there will be many children, many large families and “happy times of peace again”.
The Prime Minister stated that of the seven measures in the action plan, four will come into effect on 1 July. Meanwhile, he said, increased provision of places in crèches is an ongoing process, while exemption from personal income tax for mothers with four children and the offer of childcare allowance to grandparents will take effect on 1 January 2020.
Responding to Western European criticism of the programme, he said that “one gets the impression that we are normal, but not everyone else is”. He pointed out that “the natural order of life is that you have a mother and a father, they bring you up, you learn many things in your family, you grow up and start your own family”, stressing that this is what he is trying to defend. He observed that we must not regard the opinion of “a small but noisy, provocative minority” as normal, and “we must shake it off like a dog shakes off water”.
Finally, speaking about the Village Programme and the Village Family Housing Allowance Scheme, the Prime Minister said that the goal is for the village to represent the same civilisational environment for people as the city does. To this end, he stated, the depopulation of villages must stop and they must be rehabilitated. In this regard he cited road resurfacing and increased availability of public services as being among the tasks to be performed. He added that one aspect of the Village Family Housing Allowance which still needs to be developed is prevention of possible abuses.