Viktor Orbán “We Represent an Opinion Which is the Same as the Majority Opinion of European Citizens”

The following video is the first half of an appearance by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on the TV panel show “Daily Actual”, hosted by Zsolt Bayer and Andrea Földi-Kovács. (Part 2 is currently being translated, and will be along in due course.)

Mr. Orbán is impressive, as always. His remarks here are particularly notable, because he isn’t reading a prepared text or working from notes — he’s obviously adept at off-the-cuff discussions.

Many thanks to CrossWare for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling.

Note: The remark (at 1:04 in the transcript, ~ 0:40 in the video) about “whether we have a hat on or not” is a reference to an old joke. CrossWare has kindly supplied a translation of the joke for those who are interested; I’ve put it just below the video. As far as I know it’s the first specifically Hungarian joke I’ve ever heard.

The Hat Joke

The fox and the wolf meet in the forest.

  Hey wolf, let’s beat up the rabbit!
  Well if he has a hat, that’s why; if he doesn’t, then that’s why!

This is what they do. They beat up the rabbit badly…

They meet again a week later.

  Hey wolf, let’s beat up the rabbit again!
  What will be the reason this time?
  Well, we’ll ask for a cigarette, and if he gives us one with a filter, that’s why; if he gives one without a filter, then that’s why!

They find the rabbit:

  Hey rabbit, give us a cigarette!
  OK, what type do you want, with or without a filter?
  Hmmm… look, wolf, he’s not wearing a hat again!

Video transcript:

00:24   We welcome our viewers to a special edition of the Daily Actual.
00:28   Good evening from Zsolt Bayer and Andrea Földi-Kovács.
00:32   We would like to welcome to the studio Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
00:36   Good evening. Mr. Prime Minister, two years ago, the beginning of
00:40   the migration wave started to accelerate the requests for accountability
00:44   about our obligations, and since then, for two practically years without a break,
00:48   people around the country — without respect to their party preference — feel uncomfortable,
00:52   because of — and I will quote here — “the seriously depraved
00:56   state of democracy and the rule of law in Hungary.”
01:00   I assume you followed today’s LIBE hearing. Did you find out
01:04   whether we have a hat on or not? [reference to an old joke]
01:08   Let’s go back to the beginning. Here we’re talking about the European Parliament.
01:12   … The Brussels architecture,
01:16   the whole European structure is a complex house and
01:20   Labyrinth; there are doors everywhere. One of the
01:24   more important entrances is the European Parliament.
01:28   This is not the same as the European Commission and the European Council.
01:32   The European Parliament is the most politically-motivated part of these institutions.
01:36   …of the Brussels machine. And if in Hungary
01:40   something happens which is disliked by the larger powers,
01:44   large companies or powerful people,
01:48   then the parliament is the first one who jumps.
01:52   The reason why I brought this up is because this did not start in 2015, but earlier…
01:56   this game with Hungary. —Yes, I said it accelerated in 2015.
02:00   …but much earlier, I would say 2013 would be
02:04   when we decided to the decrease the utility fees
02:08   in Hungary. A couple of months later
02:12   we had a TAVARES report on us, in a very similar way.
02:16   Nobody admitted that this move was to support large energy industry companies,
02:20   that we hurt their interests, and that is why they tried to punish us.
02:24   Instead of that, they dressed it up as “a problem with democracy”.
02:28   Then the European Parliament started to attack Hungary. Now the same thing is happening again.
02:32   It has nothing to do with the state of democracy in Hungary, but
02:36   there is a plan, a notion,
02:40   which is about bringing millions of people into Europe,
02:44   migrants, to create a mixed-raced population here.
02:48   In the heads of many people this is a desirable goal, and there are
02:52   other countries who not only do not want this, but block the execution of this plan.
02:56   One of these countries is Hungary, and again the [EU] Parliament is the first
03:00   to jump, to attack first, and again brings up the question of Hungarian democracy.
03:04   Despite… I am trying not to
03:08   mix up the dates, in 2012, when Barroso
03:12   was the President of the European Commission, Hungary took care of
03:16   all democracy-related arguments with the European Union. So we have
03:20   papers proving that freedom of the press exists, media laws are OK,
03:24   the electoral law is OK, that our new Constitution is all right.
03:28   That was a long, multi-year long argument,
03:32   but as result, we finally agreed on all the topics with the commission,
03:36   modified some Hungarian laws; some other cases we took to the court
03:40   then accepted the judgement of the court and closed the argument. So
03:44   in Brussels there is no argument about Hungarian democracy.
03:48   The European Parliament is attacking us with this subterfuge,
03:52   because some of their interests have been harmed, but it is not tied to democracy.
03:56   That is the most precise description of the events happening now.
04:00   But it seems like they have stepped forward since then, because it was about three topics:
04:04   the CEU [Central European University — George Soros’ “school”], the [law about] NGOs,
04:08   and [migrant] quotas. For these three issues they will drag
04:12   Hungary before the European court. Should we start worrying?
04:16   If… If we place these questions on the
04:20   map of European issues, we will see that both the University [CEU] and
04:24   the case of fake-civilians — this is what, I’d rather call them —
04:28   and also the quota, all lead you to a man named Soros.
04:32   All the problems George Soros has with Hungary will lead us to the question of migration.
04:36   CEU is also a George Soros [entity]…
04:40   it is a university of our compatriot.
04:44   The fake-civilian organizations are also financed by him and he pays their activists,
04:48   provides all the necessary circumstances for their work. I believe he also provides instructions,
04:52   and the entire migration is also the part of his program, his plan.
04:56   I brought it with me — because many times it is brought up that such a plan does not exist —
05:00   So I thought I will be dramatically hold it up, here you go.
05:04   Here it is, I have it in my hand, this is the Soros plan, he published it.
05:08   Here also the word [plan] can be read, because he himself used it in this publication.
05:12   He says: “Here is my six-point comprehensive plan.”
05:16   He published it, and at the end he wrote, the Hungarians also have a six-point plan,
05:20   which opposes his plan, and this [his] plan must be executed against the [Hungarians’] plan.
05:24   So if I look at the CEU or the [fake] civilians,
05:28   also the migrations, it all leads us to George Soros,
05:32   and from him, it leads us to his plan, and this plan contains
05:36   the imperative that a mixed-race Europe be created. —We will talk about this soon, but
05:40   here is an episode I would like to ask your opinion about, on the question of
05:44   Migration. You have represented a consequential and direct opinion
05:48   for years now — whether some specific circles in the world
05:52   like it or not. You emphasize the European identity, culture,
05:56   and peace; all of these require protection. Reflecting on the last two years, how
06:00   would you judge that idea that they want George Soros to
06:04   receive the Nobel Peace Prize? …Moreover, they were Hungarians?
06:08   If I understood it correctly, this is a Hungarian nomination?! From
06:12   this it follows that Hungary is a free country, and any citizen can freely
06:16   nominate anybody, and we are lucky that not we have to decide on that.
06:20   Just a tiny interesting story. Here at home for months now
06:24   the argument has been ongoing about whether the Soros plan exists or not. If you let me
06:28   tell it, this is a reading issue, whether someone who is capable of reading can read it.
06:32   The owner of the plan, wrote it, published it and used the wording.
06:36   Of course, whoever does not want to read it, can say anything because the facts do not disturb him,
06:40   but the reality is that the Hungarian government had to step up
06:44   against a very real, very realistic threat.
06:48   Please let me read you just a single paragraph from
06:52   Gábor Iványi’s [and his friends’] writing, who nominated George Soros for the Nobel
06:56   Peace Prize, in their justification letter
07:00   they wrote at the end: “On the 16th of July, 2016
07:04   in the publication Foreign Policy, he explained”
07:08   — he means George Soros — his opinion about the European migration crisis
07:12   which is the most complex notion to solve,
07:16   today’s most difficult problem.” Well, it looks like
07:20   they are recommending him for Nobel prize for the same thing they deny the existence of.
07:24   … [sarcastically] Of course we are not getting stuck on this, because in Hungarian politics,
07:28   here we have seen much larger bucking [large ideological jumps by politicians]. I can’t let it go,
07:32   because we have not yet got an answer to the question:
07:36   Do we have a reason to worry, because we are facing a court?
07:40   We, Hungary, are being dragged into this process for these three topics?
07:44   The word “worrying” is a bit too strong. I think we should “care” about it,
07:48   because it will be a public debate, and Hungary is a country that
07:52   — with good reason — is proud to be a cultured country,
07:56   so if we participate in a debate, we do it with high quality and come prepared.
08:00   So for us, we have to demonstrate clearly and fairly,
08:04   with persuasive power, our reasons…
08:08   then the bright-eyed judges will make their decisions, which we will comprehend.
08:12   As the debates and arguments come up — once upon a time, there was a debate
08:16   in Strasbourg, where we experienced that
08:20   as all our politicians, including yourself, defended our honor,
08:24   there were some passing lonely voices in the crowd defending us.
08:28   Now looking at the LIBE committee hearing, much more definite
08:32   criticism could be heard concerning the EU’s working principles
08:36   and mechanisms from those representatives who defended our country
08:40   and Poland. I watched this hearing, for which I had the
08:44   a list of names in front of me — the ones who could be connected to George Soros —
08:48   and the list of political institutions. And I watched the so called “reliable allies”,
08:52   and interestingly, the ones who took a critical voice against
08:56   our country in the debate were all on the list!
09:00   Let me bring you a example from sport, I think in soccer it called
09:04   “double membership”; that is not allowed, but it seems that in the European Parliament, they do it?
09:08   I guess they must work hard for their money [30 pieces of silver].
09:12   Because the relation you described does exist, well,
09:16   there are more who agree with our point of view.
09:20   There are multiple interpretations possible for this. Maybe Péter Szijjártó would be better
09:24   at explaining things than me, and he was able to convince more people of the
09:28   correctness of our points, or the other possibility is what we call democracy.
09:32   If someone would take a look…
09:36   In the western part of Europe
09:40   he will notice that there is a growing gap between what the people
09:44   think and want — about migration —
09:48   and what their elected leaders are doing.
09:52   And democracy is the kind of system where of course the suggested steps and programs
09:56   of the leaders could be different from what the population might want.
10:00   There are numerous examples of that — that is part of this type of governmental system —
10:04   but the difference can only increase to a certain point, this difference of opinion.
10:08   After too large a difference, the system corrects itself: they kick out the leaders,
10:12   very precisely. So when for the longest time people experience
10:16   that their leaders do different things from what they want,
10:20   especially when the things done by the leaders do not live up to expectations,
10:24   and violate the interests of the people, then they will let those leaders go.
10:28   This is now happening all over Western Europe in more and more countries,
10:32   and the leaders would love to stay in their positions, too,
10:36   and gain the trust of their constituents, because basically
10:40   they are democratic leaders, even when we do not agree with them;
10:44   they would love to gain the trust of the voters, so sooner or later they must correct their
10:48   point of view in the case of migration, too. I am not “Vates” and I do not want to tell the future,
10:52   but in the end, the majority will take our point of view
10:56   and follow it, because we represent an opinion which is the same as the majority
11:00   opinion of European citizens. What we say
11:04   represents the opinion of the Hungarian people for sure, we know this from
11:08   [national] consultations and referendums and many other sources, but
11:12   we are convinced that the majority of the population of the EU member states slowly
11:16   move in the direction of our point of view, and that will force
11:20   a change in the leaders’ point of view. They will never admit it,
11:24   but Hungary is a very generous type of nation,
11:28   we even find joy in accepting it if we are wrong,
11:32   and we can speak out loudly and generously: “We were wrong.”
11:36   This is not the norm for everybody, so they will never admit
11:40   that they were wrong and we were right, but step by step
11:44   will start to correct their point of view, and in the end they will
11:48   arrive at the points which are represented by Hungary.
11:52   Otherwise, for those processes you mentioned
11:56   one of the most spectacular
12:00   places is Germany. Where since World War II
12:04   it had not happened that they could not form a government.
12:08   We can be sure this leads back to the migration issue, BUT
12:12   now let’s move away from the person of George Soros:
12:16   Isn’t this a sovereignty question?
12:20   Isn’t the topic here — with tight correlation
12:24   with democracy, which you also mentioned —
12:28   that, simply, this is a question of sovereignty,
12:32   where they want to override
12:36   the Hungarian government, the Hungarian state, or if you like,
12:40   the will of the Hungarian people, which cannot be overridden,
12:44   because it strikes at such a deep layer of sovereignty, where
12:48   nobody else can have a say. —Where we can see the word “sovereignty”
12:52   — well, this is a bit complex and foreign to the Hungarian language —
12:56   But we might understand what it means. But we also can conveniently use the word “freedom”.
13:00   This question is about the issue of Hungarian freedom!
13:04   Freedom means that we are free as individuals, as free Hungarians,
13:08   as human beings and citizens,
13:12   as a community, and as a Hungarian nation. And there is a debate in the European Union
13:16   which indeed impacts the question of sovereignty, a.k.a. freedom.
13:20   And it goes like this: “Every country MUST become migrant-accepting, must have migrants
13:24   settled in it”, or is there freedom,
13:28   is there a right, or do the member states have the sovereignty,
13:32   to say NO to this future.
13:36   Hungary says: we respect your choice that you want such future for yourself — your souls on it —
13:40   You want mixed-race nations, with cities such as Brussels, Cologne or perhaps Vienna or Marseille.
13:48   This is your business; if this is what you want, do it. We ask only one thing from you:
13:52   respect our choice in the matter; we want a different future for ourselves and our children.
13:56   Budapest is not like those cities, and we do not want it to become like them.
14:00   We do not want Debrecen or Pécs [major Hungarian cities] to be that way either. This is our point of view.
14:04   Do we have the freedom to choose a future like that, or not?
14:08   That is the question of sovereignty and freedom, and today it looks like this right, the right to
14:12   Freedom, is disputed by those who want to force upon
14:16   us those regulations that make it possible to send
14:20   migrants here, despite the fact, we do not want them.
14:24   Prime Minister, the government criticizes the decision-makers in the EU
14:28   and the civilian organizations [NGOs] who put forth intangible concepts such as
14:32   international rights, European values, human rights. This concept of freedom
14:36   is too generic, where this will damage Hungary’s freedom.
14:40   Exactly what were you thinking, other than that we must accept — against our will —
14:43   illegal migrants? Some migrants settled here? — I was thinking: do we have
14:48   the freedom to say who can live within our territory?
14:52   That will be decided by Hungarians, or the Parliament elected by Hungarians,
14:56   the government elected by the Parliament and its foreign [border] policing force.
15:00   We Hungarians decide it, or somebody else from outside the country, who does
15:04   not even speak our language, is not part of our history, does not share our fate,
15:08   a citizen of another country, would tell us what to do and
15:12   with whom we shall live together. I think that it was not good when others told us
15:16   with whom we cannot live together [in WWII Germans ordered the removal of Jews]. That caused trouble;
15:20   now they want to tell us, with whom we must live. That will be trouble, too! So we must refuse
15:24   this, and must refer to our God-given right to freedom.
15:28   I aimed a different goal:
15:32   that our freedom will be damaged in this respect, or in other layer too, or only in this issue,
15:36   and that is why the attacks are so intense? Obviously the weight of this issue is so large,
15:40   it brings all the problems to the surface.
15:44   When they arrive by the millions against our will,
15:48   as migrants into this continent
15:52   — we do not even know who they are — this brings every question into a different light.
15:56   Or if we think about NATO’s and other international
16:00   research institutions’ reports that tens of millions now, and later
16:04   hundreds of millions want to move to the European continent,
16:08   that is such a huge historic challenge,
16:12   so it brings everything into a new light, including this question, of whether inside the EU
16:16   the scope of authority is organized by the principle of freedom, or not.
16:20   I could give you other examples too, when I had the feeling
16:24   that the European Commission stealthily, secretly was taking authority away from the member states.
16:28   They had no authorization for this, based on the rights recorded in the Basic Treaty
16:32   they fiendishly maneuvered around and took away rights from the
16:36   member states. This process we do not support,
16:40   we must stop — if we want to change the relationship between
16:44   Brussels and the member nations — this division of authority. We must open an honest, clear
16:48   debate and later lawfully close it, as written in
16:52   the existing treaties. Now we have this stealthy deprivation of authority
16:56   from the nations in the direction of the bureaucracy in Brussels.
17:00   Then all of this will lead us to another, even more comprehensive question:
17:04   who thinks what about the future of the European Union.
17:08   We entered into the European Union, after long and hard debates,
17:12   with a referendum, knowing the content of the Basic Treaty of the Union,
17:16   and we looked at the European Union as an alliance of free nations.
17:20   Now a new direction has emerged, which says:
17:24   that was the past, but let’s do different in the future; let’s create a
17:28   United States of Europe, similar to the case of the United States of America,
17:32   with similar legal solutions and methods. There is a Hungarian party which
17:36   wholeheartedly agrees with this, so even here there are supporters
17:40   of living in a United European States, but the majority
17:44   for now in Western Europe and in Hungary, too, want to stay in the
17:48   position of an alliance of free nations. But this debate is occurring, so every concrete case
17:52   — even smaller ones than migration — are being interpreted in this larger
17:56   context. Will this move us away from the
18:00   alliance of free nations toward the United States of Europe, or not.
18:04   This will make the debate more intellectually exciting and more serious, as far as the stakes go.
18:08   Oh yes, but besides the stealthy deprivation of authority,
18:12   — which you mentioned — there is something else,
18:16   a stealthy argument, which we have been hearing for months now,
18:20   openly and clearly telling it to our face, which is:
18:24   If Hungary is a member of the EU,
18:28   which is a club, first it is mandatory
18:32   to show solidarity with all other members of the club,
18:36   and then the second part of the same argument:
18:40   if we accept the support of the cohesion funds, then
18:44   we enjoy the advantages of this club membership,
18:48   we should never dare to imagine we will be spared
18:52   the disadvantages, and we could rise above
18:56   the migrant issue…
19:00   There is such point of view! —Yes, but what is your opinion? Because
19:04   the second part I… —I try to phrase is as nicely as I can —
19:08   outrageous! Well, it is not likable, this second opinion,
19:12   which would mean, we sold our free will for money.
19:16   Because that is what this would mean: we send you money so shut up!
19:20   Keep quiet! —That is what they mean…
19:24   or in every matter you should just do what we tell you to do.
19:28   Do not try other ways, and do not have any ideas for reform.
19:32   … I think in the European Union one thing is great,
19:36   The way things are arranged. They try to change it from time to time
19:40   but in spite of that, things are arranged in such a way
19:44   that everybody can find their own advantages.
19:48   So the present arrangement, if one multiplies and calculates,
19:52   he may find that at the end he will get what he wants out of it.
19:56   A little snobbishly, it called a win-win
20:00   situation. That is the official expression,
20:04   for a situation where everybody wins.
20:08   No doubt we are receiving [financial] resources from the EU,
20:12   but I believe they earn a much larger sum in Hungary,
20:16   the Western corporations and those countries’ companies
20:20   that give money to the cohesion funds. I usually say it in Germany
20:24   At public events, that as long as a Hungarian worker
20:28   In the Audi factory in Györ, earns only a third or half
20:32   Or a quarter of the income of a German worker in Germany,
20:36   and they can pocket the difference as profit, they should not say anything about cohesion funds.
20:40   If we count everything, then the present arrangement
20:44   is good for the Hungarians, good for the Germans and good for Brussels,
20:48   so it is good for everybody. If we start to argue, that on the one side of the equation they give
20:52   some money and forget about the other side where they receive it,
20:56   and we build political positions that say, you receive from the cohesion funds so you must do
21:00   this and this, then we will upset this fastidious balance,
21:04   we will have the impression that only they benefit from this while we do not.
21:08   So I reject every single argument like this, not just from the
21:12   point of view of Hungarian national pride, but
21:16   I refuse is as a European too, because this argument breaks up
21:20   existential balance of the interests within the European Union.
21:24   Just a half sentence to the end of this:
21:28   About a year ago a German politician —
21:32   and especially he was an economist — stated that from every €10
21:36   that arrives in Hungary from the cohesion funds, in the end
21:40   €9 goes back. There is a Polish study in the same topic
21:44   which talks about 8 units. —That’s a nice number too! —But
21:48   in the meantime we come out of this well, too, so I do not want to get into that false
21:52   paradigm, that I would say to the Hungarians,
21:56   that it is not good for inside the Union. Because there are investments coming, jobs coming,
22:00   workplaces created. Eight years ago the unemployment rate was
22:04   7%; now it is 4%.
22:08   We needed foreign investment for this. Of course, income still lags behind,
22:12   but we are raising it slowly, every year we go forward, so
22:16   this is still good for us Hungarians. Just do not try to change the rules
22:20   of the game, because if the existing rules remain,
22:24   we Hungarians are talented enough that with these rules
22:28   we can find our profit. But do not try to change the rules in mid-game!
22:32   But Mr Prime Minister, they want to change it,
22:36   and we hear it from many different forums, they
22:40   Are talking about cutting the cohesion funds and the agrarian support
22:44   for the Poles and for us. What can we do
22:48   in this “Freedom fight”? Let’s call it that.
22:52   Well, I am a believer in agreement and
22:56   cooperation in European Union matters,
23:00   and that is why I am now telling you quietly and in brackets that
23:04   accepting the Union’s budget requires a unified decision. So you are not worried?
23:08   Well, I am fighting, I hope I am not creating the image of
23:12   someone who is afraid of something. We face this
23:16   with an open heart, and fight for our national interests fairly,
23:20   and we do this because we know our own strength, our legal support,
23:24   and we know if we walk this path, at the end we will reach our goals,
23:28   not just that we have the truth on our side, but we will gain by it.

2 thoughts on “Viktor Orbán “We Represent an Opinion Which is the Same as the Majority Opinion of European Citizens”

  1. The way I interprete the hat joke is this;
    They beat the cr.. out of you no mater what you do.

  2. Random thoughts. Had Jobbik supported the Constitutional Amendment proposed by the government in 2016, banning the resettlement of migrants, we would not now be in this situation.

    Viktor has made it plain that maintaining Hungarian identity and sovereignty is paramount. What will happen should the legal maneuvering by the EU all go against Hungary? What happens if funds and voting rights and whatever else they can find are withheld from Hungary as punishment? How can Hungary resist such an outcome?

    Should this happen I see no good way out for the government. If they acquiesce the opposition will have a field day. If they do not then how can we stay in the EU? Brussels must win this else other nations might be tempted to try some independent thinking of their own which would be anathema to the Leadership.

    “…the European Commission stealthily, secretly was taking authority away from the member states.
    16:28 They had no authorization for this, based on the rights recorded in the Basic Treaty
    16:32 they fiendishly maneuvered around and took away rights from the
    16:36 member states. This process we do not support,
    16:40 we must stop — if we want to change the relationship between
    16:44 Brussels and the member nations — this division of authority…”

    Perhaps the majority of nations desire and support this new direction. But what about countries which do not? What choices exist?
    At present, I cannot imagine Hungary in a “brexit” situation yet more and more have the feeling some subtle groundwork in this direction is being ever so slowly laid in the public mind.

    Another Hungarian joke, from the Vas Nepe (county )newspaper, last year, I think.
    An old peasant was standing in front of a statue of Mátyás Rákosi (brutal Communist leader from 1945 to 1956) shaking his head in obvious sadness. The museum guard approached him and said, Now, Uncle, why are you shaking your head? Do you not like the statue of our Dear Leader?
    The old peasant replied, Well, it’s fine but there are two problems with it. First, it should be written underneath: RIP Dear Leader.
    The guard said Stupid peasant! Dear Leader is not dead!

    Now you see, answered the old peasant, THAT is the second problem.

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