The Prime Minister was reviewing the Government’s work at the 15th Plenary Session of the Hungarian Standing Conference (Máért), in the Várkert Bazár in Budapest on Thursday. He said that these days it is increasingly easy to stand up for Hungary on the global stage, although this had not at all been true in previous years.
Mr. Orbán thanked the leaders of Hungarians beyond the borders for standing up for the policies of the mother country’s government “with courage and a pure heart”, despite “the headwind”.
He described the strategy pursued by the Hungarian cabinet in managing the economic crisis –complete renewal and creation of a work-based society – as successful. He said that the term “populist” is hardly correct, as the world has never seen populism which resulted in the cutting of sovereign debt, a shrinking budget deficit and higher economic growth.
He also said that in foreign policy terms Hungary has not become isolated, although “many have worked hard for this”. This is because the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has changed its style, and is now protecting Hungarian interests, he said. At the same time, Hungarian communities beyond the borders have likewise not given in. Another important factor is that in other countries we have also seen the start of changes which are similar to those which took place in Hungary, he said.
In summary, Mr. Orbán said that “the black sheep” has become part of mainstream politics in the Western world. In his speech the Prime Minister said that the greatest success of the past six years has been the unification of the nation, which has been accomplished together with Hungarian communities beyond the borders.
He said that, 100 years after the Trianon diktat, the constituent parts of the Hungarian nation have found one another, and Hungarian-Hungarian cooperation has become part of daily life.
Mr. Orbán presented the attendees with the supporting figures: 860,000 people have submitted naturalisation requests, more than 810,000 of them have already taken their citizenship oaths, and 100,000 citizenship requests have been submitted from scattered communities. There is no reason to lack conviction, he said.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that, in the field of minority rights, the EU accession of the region’s countries has only made modest progress toward fulfilling the hopes originally raised.
He said that clear examples of this disappointing development are the case of the Székely Mikó College, lawsuits regarding the use of flags and names, and the campaigns launched against the leaders of the Hungarian community in Transylvania “under the guise” of the fight against corruption. EU rules related to the rights of nationalities are disregarded just as much the corresponding rules in the diktat of Trianon were, he said.
The Prime Minister also spoke about immigration, saying that there is in progress “an attempt to replace the bedrock”, as there are European forces which are seeking to replace the very bedrock of European politics. Modern-day mass population movement is also being assisted “from within”, he added, as there are those who would arrange for vast numbers of people to be transported here.
In the Western world intellectual chaos prevails
The Prime Minister said that in the Western world intellectual chaos prevails, which is amply demonstrated by the “absurd situation” following the death of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, with “the search for excuses” for Castro’s actions, and “concealing truth with lies”. This is a sign of the disintegration of the left-liberal world order, he said, as to this day members of the European elite “who arrived there from among the dreamers of ’68” fail to understand what “the harsh socialist and communist reality” was in Europe or Cuba.
He said that it is an even bigger problem that some members of this elite actually believe in the “dream world” which they associated with socialism and communism. This, he continued, is why many in Brussels still fail to understand Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election. These events, however, indicate that reality has prevailed over ideologies, the Prime Minister said, adding that it is not hard to find a parallel between these events and the Hungarian changes which started in 2010.
Quite obviously, the ideals of the left have lost their appeal and popular support, the Prime Minister said, but at the same time, if one reviews the overall situation in Europe, one can see that the conventional right also has little to boast about. The right, he said, must also change; otherwise, like the left, it will lose its support base.
Mr. Orbán also commented on the court ruling passed the previous day related to the riot at the Röszke border station last year. He concluded that the decision was the right one, saying that there was no deception: “we told them the situation in advance, and the country was full of billboards”. He stressed that if someone comes here they must observe the laws, and if they do not there will be legal consequences.
Election will be decisive
In his speech the Prime Minister also touched on the upcoming election in Romania, which he said will be decisive as, in his view, in a number of places in Romania measures which are supposed to be used to fight corruption are being used against leaders of the Hungarian community. It has been some time, he said, since representation of Hungarians in Transylvania in the Bucharest parliament was in such grave danger as it is now. He asked the Hungarians living in Transylvania to vote, to cooperate with their leaders, and to give absolute priority to attaining representation in Bucharest.
Mr. Orbán mentioned that a week ago his government signed a comprehensive agreement with the trade unions and employers, which lays down the most important planks of Hungary’s economic policy for a six-year period. He added that over the course of 26 years no such agreement has been concluded before, but now there is a realistic chance of success; the Hungarian economy will remain on a continuous upward path over the next five to ten years. As a result, he said, there will also be scope to provide the resources necessary in the field of policy on Hungarian communities abroad, adding that at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday the Foreign Ministry had asked for additional funds for Vojvodina and Transcarpathia.
Finally he expressed support for the idea of thematic years in communities beyond the borders, saying that 2017 will be the year of Hungarian family businesses beyond the borders. He said that Hungarian businesses have begun to build a network like an “arterial system” across the Carpathian Basin.