Viktor Orbán: “I do not want Hungary to end up like many Western European countries”

The leaders of the Visegrád Four countries met in Budapest on January 26, 2018. Yesterday we posted a brief excerpt from remarks made by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the press conference after the meeting.

The following video contains longer excerpts from the same talk. Many thanks to CrossWare for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:04   A respectful welcome to everybody. We are not in an easy situation — the four of us
00:08   up here —modern political thinking
00:12   separates from each other
00:16   the ones who think, and the ones who act.
00:20   And also there is the advice that
00:24   one who has a leadership position in a country
00:28   should refrain from mentioning thoughts
00:32   that may be intellectually exciting, but
00:36   could have adverse disadvantages in the debate within the political space.
00:40   So we are in a conflicted situation.
00:44   We should talk about both important and interesting things.
00:48   We have undertaken that, when we started our discussion about the future of Europe.
00:52   I will do that now, but before we get into European issues,
00:56   before we talk about the topic of Europe’s future, I would like
01:00   to talk about the V4 [Visegrád Four] — as I am now a coordinator
01:04   some sort of president [Hungary is the rotating V4 leader], I would like to say a couple of words.
01:08   If you think about it, if we had thought just
01:12   10 to 15 years ago that the Visegrád Four would have such weight,
01:16   such significance, and such results in the economy
01:20   or in international politics, I am sure not many of us
01:24   would have believed that we would get this far by 2018.
01:28   The V4 worked to achieve our place
01:32   in the sun; moreover, we talk about friendly countries.
01:36   In history this was not always the case, but now
01:40   the V4 has definitely a friendly relationship [among its members].
01:44   Its history is mostly interpreted as a common heritage
01:48   of acquired freedom; we have all suffered.
01:52   We have a common dictionary that we in the V4
01:56   are using in Central Europe. There are words in it
02:00   — to the west of us, they are less frequently heard — sovereignty,
02:04   independence, freedom, God,
02:08   homeland, family, work, honor,
02:12   safety, common sense. These all belong
02:16   in our shared dictionary, so that we understand
02:20   each other, and we are capable of understanding
02:24   questions — such as the future of Europe — drawn from this common dictionary.
02:28   Where the weight of the V4 is concerned, it is enough
02:32   if we take a look at the numbers.
02:36   Obviously Robert [Fico] knows more of the history of the Slovakian economy than I,
02:40   but I do not believe that Slovakia has ever had such a successful
02:44   period as it is experiencing right now;
02:48   that is the period that was opened by Robert Fico, Prime Minister.
02:52   We are looking at the numbers and just clutching our heads at how fast their economy is progressing.
02:56   We are less surprised by the Czechs, because in
03:00   Hungarian thinking — even in the time of the Monarchy [1867-1918] —
03:04   the Czech Republic was always present as the more developed country.
03:08   A more industrialized region, and the Czech Republic kept this position.
03:12   And here is the country — from our [Hungarian] point of view —
03:16   the immense Poland, which we always viewed with surprise due to
03:20   the way it could not take advantage of its four-times larger territory [compared to Hungary],
03:24   its large internal market, and did not develop faster than countries much smaller than itself.
03:28   This has changed in the last couple of years. Poland
03:32   is developing at an incredible pace.
03:36   If we look at the performance of these four countries, we can say — for example
03:40   if we look at the four countries’ volume of commerce with Germany
03:44   — which I believe is a good European starting point — we can say
03:48   that our volume of commerce with the Germans is
03:52   55% higher than the French-German volume of commerce.
03:56   It’s twice as big as the British-German, and three times larger than
04:00   the Italian-German [volume of commerce]. This is a good sign that
04:04   we are not standing there, cap in hand,
04:08   at the European money-distribution center,
04:12   and asking for preferences, but that we have become a group of countries
04:16   that has an independent economic performance.
04:20   This is the fastest-growing region in Europe, which adds to
04:24   the strength of Europe and does not take away from it. And those who cooperate with us,
04:28   who invest in us, or who pay into the [European] Union,
04:32   and we receive their resources via the Cohesion Funds,
04:36   those countries actually earn a profit from us. So we are not helped;
04:40   we are not supplicants, but a self-conscious community,
04:44   which gives just as much to the EU as the Union gives back.
04:48   Or it is not even an impossible to risk to say
04:52   that the older members of the Union are earning a profit
04:56   on their cooperation with us. Concerning the future of Europe:
05:00   I will give a short talk. There was a plan — remember that
05:04   I have been in this “business” for a while now —
05:08   there was a big plan, with three goals; it’s called the Lisbon plan.
05:12   The Euro should be a competitive currency
05:16   in the international financial markets. There should be a commerce zone
05:20   from Lisbon to Vladivostok, and the [European] Union should be the most competitive,
05:24   most technologically advanced region in the world.
05:28   Compared to that, we should be happy that the euro survived the 2008 financial crisis.
05:32   Instead of a commercial zone expanding to Vladivostok,
05:36   we introduced sanctions against Russia. And concerning
05:40   competitiveness, we can say that Europe’s share
05:44   of global economic performance, which in 2000 was 25%,
05:48   has now fallen to 20%, and based on the forecast,
05:52   this could go as low as 12%-15% as well.
05:56   Obviously we need a redesign! Europe needs a redesign!
06:00   This was the uplifting force, the big plan, that I was just talking about.
06:04   Which has fallen, is no longer valid. This uplifting force is working in
06:08   European leaders, for example in the French President, too, who brings newer and newer suggestions.
06:12   Because we all feel it: there is a need for redesign.
06:16   We are all pro-European politicians here.
06:20   Our goal is to make Europe stronger. We Hungarians think it’s not a good debate,
06:25   the approach that Europe is less or more [‘2 speed Europe’; kicking out member states].
06:28   The goal is to make Europe stronger. Where more Europe [centralization] is needed,
06:32   let’s have it; where more national scope is required, let
06:36   the member states go to work. The goals are clear; we believe in the new plan.
06:40   We should have a work-based society, so full employment should
06:44   be part of it. It should set the goal to get us back
06:48   to the top technologically, using digitalization.
06:52   We think in the new big European plan should include a European defense force.
06:56   And in the new European plan we should not talk about an empire — the United States of Europe —
07:00   but the Alliance of Free European Nations, and
07:04   give the authority back to the member states, where it belongs.
07:08   This is all possible, this all can be reached; the question is: Will we have
07:12   a high enough quality of leadership in the European Union to accomplish these goals?
07:16   There is one goof. One unexpected accident happened.
07:20   Which, as I said, we crossed through — because if this were the only question we debated
07:24   in Europe, we would have calm discussions.
07:28   But in the meantime, a new age of migration started,
07:32   which opened brand new dimensions and caused us to question everything,
07:36   put a question mark behind every past statement.
07:40   The situation in this matter is…
07:44   …that we concentrate only
07:48   on the period after 2015, but I would like to bring to everybody’s attention
07:52   that portraying the migration as a positive phenomenon,
07:56   and making it into a European program to be followed,
08:00   did not start in 2015, nor begin with the “Willkommenskultur” [welcoming culture].
08:04   Rather it started in 2004, when a man named Kofi Annan,
08:08   the Secretary General of the United Nations, went to the European Parliament and gave a lecture there,
08:12   where he said: migration is the big question of the future, and he outlined
08:16   what Europe must do. He said the migrants will need
08:20   Europe and Europe will need migrants.
08:24   One must put aside prejudices and must open channels for migration,
08:28   and European societies must adapt to the results of migration.
08:32   That migration is a solution and not a problem. We did not notice that from 2004
08:36   until 2015 this process advanced in Western Europe.
08:40   The crisis of 2015 made all of this visible.
08:44   And caused a dilemma for us Hungarians, too.
08:48   Do we want to step onto that path to what is now happening in Western Europe,
08:52   where the majority have made themselves into immigration-accepting countries?
08:56   They accepted Kofi Annan and history’s advice.
09:00   Or do we not want to become a migrant-accepting country? We will of course help those who need it —
09:04   we never had any argument about that. Whoever needs protection, we will defend them.
09:08   But we will not accept migrants. Not now, not later,
09:12   because we do not want to become a migrant-accepting country.
09:16   And our own problems — for example, our population problem — we do not want to solve
09:20   by accepting migrants, but with family [oriented] policies. This is the new situation,
09:24   which we all have confronted, and I can say honestly, what I see in Western Europe —
09:28   in the migrant-accepting societies —
09:32   are parallel societies, terrorism, erosion of public safety,
09:36   the loss of being able to feel at home on the part of the natives.
09:40   In these I see nothing attractive, and see nothing promising for Hungary.
09:44   We must keep ourselves far away from that, and keep our culture
09:48   and our traditional way of life. I would like to finish the things I have to say.
09:52   There was another UN Secretary General who brought attention to himself
09:56   when he published a monograph in the Leftist media.
10:00   Where he repeated in stronger tones what Kofi Annan said in 2004.
10:04   The Secretary-General wrote that migration is a good thing;
10:08   migration is needed, and the UN is to play a role
10:12   in working out a new worldwide migration agreement,
10:16   which would coordinate the migration everywhere,
10:20   so migrants can be distributed everywhere in the world.
10:24   What I wanted to say concerning this is that the conflict causing stress in Europe will not remain
10:28   within European borders. We must relate the new UN agreement
10:32   under preparation. We know the contents, which are depressing and sad,
10:36   and we mostly read danger from it, but it is clear that debate
10:40   about migration will move slowly from the European space to the worldwide level.
10:44   Europe must give an answer to that [challenge], too.
10:48   This is how I see the future of Europe. Peter [Szijjártó], thank you very much for the opportunity…
18:56   …I think its important for the four of us sitting here — forgive me,
18:59   Peter [Szijjártó — Minister of Foreign Affairs], five of us — to talk about the future.
19:04   And there are not many places where someone in the audience
19:08   could hear a more optimistic
19:12   report on the future of Europe, than here.
19:16   The surveys show the same thing: if they ask EU citizens
19:20   whether their children will have a better life
19:24   than they have now, then out of the whole of Europe, those most optimistic
19:28   that the next generation will have a better life than before
19:32   are the citizens of these four countries, whose leaders sit here.
19:36   So we talk about optimism, and this is not a “treasury optimism”,
19:40   because we bring real data: economic numbers, real growth.
19:44   There is a basis for that. And we talk about big foreign political concepts,
19:48   infrastructure, the creation of a Central European economy, expansion to the Balkans,
19:53   the Three Seas Cooperation [Baltic, Adriatic, Black Seas] — represented excellently by the Poles.
19:56   But I want bring everybody’s attention to the fact.
20:00   Let’s not forget, this is all a possible opportunity
20:04   — in our lifetime — but there is one risk,
20:08   and it is not to be underestimated. That is the MIGRATION!
20:12   Because if we cannot solve the problem of migration,
20:16   cannot stop it, if we let someone tear down the fence and
20:20   force others to do the same, if we allow the [mandatory] quotas,
20:24   if all this craziness continues that sees opportunity in migration and not danger,
20:28   if we let in masses of people whose way of life is very different from ours,
20:32   then no matter how much optimism we have, all will be lost;
20:36   it will all vanish and evaporate. We must defend our future! We have a future;
20:40   we have already thought it out, but we must defend the possibility of that future.
20:44   The fence must stay up; refuse the quotas; say NO to migration.
20:48   Because that is the only way we will have a possibility to do all this.
20:52   I would like to thank to the prime ministers who came to Budapest.
20:56   We have an excellent discussion behind us, but I would like especially to thank them for what
21:00   they said now, because in Hungarian internal politics — which I do not want to bring into this —
21:04   sometimes I have the feeling that our political community is
21:08   the one that fights against the migration, but everybody else wants something different.
21:12   It is very important that other prime ministers come here and tell us
21:16   what their nations think about these issues. And it is very visible that we are not alone!
21:20   I’m not even talking about the country across the big water [USA], only Europe.
21:24   But WE ARE NOT ALONE! The type of thinking we represent
21:28   is not obscure or backward, not some kind of exception,
21:32   but normal, driven by a common-sense type of thinking.
21:36   I have seen the print of that mentality in the comments, and I am grateful for it.
21:40   I would like to bring to your attention that in the UN
21:44   there are dangerous things in the making.
21:48   I read the documents, the global recommendations,
21:52   about the migration, and they have things such as
21:56   the punishment for illegal migration must be mitigated,
22:00   the administration must be loosened, every country
22:04   must accept migrants, and the NGOs must play a prominent role
22:08   in handling all the migration or migration wave.
22:12   We will not be able to support this, and it is not worth it
22:16   for the European Union to develop a common view with the UN, because we
22:20   could not participate in this; we must state it clearly. The second thing is,
22:24   I agree with Mateusz [Morawiecki, Polish PM], who said, we must bring help to where the problem is,
22:28   not bring the problem over here. We also have a “Hungary Helps” organization,
22:32   whose task is to bring direct help wherever there is a need for it.
22:36   I concur and agree with, however, I can’t be
22:40   as radical as Robert Fico — I try… but I can’t —
22:44   about his thoughts on Christian Europe. We must plant our feet firmly, just as you
22:48   showed us. We must defend our Christian culture,
22:52   which is not a religious issue. Of course, for the believer
22:57   it is also a religious question, but the Christian culture and the atheists are also part of it.
23:00   This is an issue for all of us, the question of the Christian way of life.
23:04   The way we all live our lives. That includes
23:08   freedom of religion, which we will not want to give up. We do not want to be open to any kind
23:13   of fundamentalism. It includes the relationship between men and women, the role of the family,
23:16   which we do not want let go of. We are sitting in Budapest, which has Europe’s largest
23:20   synagogue and one of the largest basilicas
23:24   standing a stone’s throw from each other, clearly showing that we live
23:28   integrated together. We do not want to import anti-Semitism from abroad,
23:32   to let people in — where we can think of them as many things —
23:36   but their presence would not increase anti-Semitism, nobody can conceive of it. So clearly
23:40   we must insist on our tolerant Christian way of life.
23:44   Robert Fico says: We must defend Christian culture, our way of life.
23:48   With that I am in full agreement: we cannot lose
23:52   the sense of home; I do not want Hungary to end up like many Western
23:56   European countries, where from one day to another, they have found they
24:00   are feeling worse, and no longer feel at home themselves. And this leads to
24:04   the question of European democracy: WHO MADE THIS DECISION?!
24:08   Who was asked whether millions of foreign people should be allowed into the European continent?
24:12   Where is the democratic legitimization of such decision?
24:16   Who takes responsibility for this decision? Where is that person?
24:20   Where is that plenum? Where is that parliament? Where is that organization?
24:24   Something is happening here against the will of European people, but surely without
24:28   asking them. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! In Hungary we ask
24:32   the people, and it will happen in the way the Hungarian people want.
24:36   And we will keep up our point of view, and
24:40   we are happy that we are not alone and have friends who help us represent
24:44   an identical point of view and develop
24:48   an identical path now, and in the future, too. Thank you very much, thank you, Peter [Szijjártó]!

5 thoughts on “Viktor Orbán: “I do not want Hungary to end up like many Western European countries”

  1. Everything Orban said is not special. It is common sense. Or common sense is special today?

  2. It appears that common sense is indeed special these days. Hard to find anywhere, really.

  3. BTW, I should add that Victor Orban is one of my heroes (I am of Hungarian extraction, although an American citizen). I find him full of common sense, which is really not that common these days.

Comments are closed.