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Mar 30, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

Conservatives should take on “fight with the Left” to save Europe, says PM Orbán

In the face of a political adversary that wants to transform Europe by allowing unbridled immigration, casting aside subsidiarity and encumbering the labor markets with bureaucratic rules, the center-right political forces of Europe must summon the confidence to “accept the intellectual and political fight with the Left,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, addressing the European People’s Party Congress in Malta today.

In his address, the prime minister laid out a program for conservatives to save Europe from a future that “overshadows” its present. Courage is the key, both to recognize and rectify mistakes and to confront challenges.

PM Orbán warned of getting too comfortable about Europe’s future. “The way we see it, Europe is the best place in the world for human life. For the time being. We can live in freedom and prosperity, in our own cultural environment. For the time being,” he said, emphasizing that this cannot be taken for granted.

“If we think about the future, we can see serious dangers; we must therefore speak frankly and openly. This is a precondition of our future success. We have a competitiveness crisis. We have a migration crisis. We have a security and terror crisis. We have a demographic crisis. And we have a foreign policy crisis – with a destabilized Ukraine and a boiling Balkans. I have to say, the future of Europe is casting a shadow on the present of Europe. Tomorrow is casting a shadow on today. This explains why radical parties were able to gain ground even here in the most successful continent of the world.”

“Migration turned out to be the Trojan horse of terrorism,” the primes minister said, and conservatives must defend Europe against that threat, first by fighting off the ideological issues. “I understand that the Left is putting us under ideological pressure, for the West to feel guilty for the crusades and colonialism, but this leftist policy is intellectually disarming Europe against the invasion of Muslim migration.”

Eastern European countries are put under pressure not with their colonialist past – as they have not had a history of colonialism – but a contemptuous dishonesty about their lack of solidarity. “We Hungarians are protecting the borders of the European Union over hundreds of kilometers – without any major contribution from the EU, in fact, but suffering from the backfire of Brussels,” the prime minister said. “This is the real solidarity.”

Hungary is “living proof that defense is possible,” but important European-level policy changes are needed:

“We must take those away from our territory, who have arrived illegally, and we must refuse to label any EU member state as a non-safe country. The Human Rights Court has to be reformed urgently because its judgments are a threat to the security of European people and an invitation for migrants. And the key element: every legal procedure should be conducted outside the territory of the European Union, by creating safe spots on the shores of Libya. Obviously, we must provide help for those who are in trouble. We should deliver help to the places where it is needed and not bring the problem to ourselves.”

Migration is just one part of the problem, the prime minister said, as the whole foreign policy of the EU must be changed. “My homeland is the gate to the Balkans. I see every day, how Russian, Turkish and American influence is growing, whilst the influence of the European Union is decreasing. This is a bad policy and it’s time we change it.”

That opens the way for the biggest problem, the Left’s deadly project for Europe.

“The Left has a clear action plan to transform Europe,” the prime minister said. “They want to let millions of Muslims in. They want to put aside subsidiarity. They want to force bureaucratic rules on our labor markets. They want to raise taxes, and ultimately, Socialists want to build socialism in Europe. This would be fatal for Europe. We would lose our Christian identity, lose our competitiveness, and lose the hope of full employment.”

To defeat this plan, conservatives have to take pride in their roots and ideology and be more courageous.

“I suggest we accept the intellectual and political fight with the Left. We are the People’s Party, the Partido Popular, the Volkspartei, we should not be afraid of leftist criticism calling us populists. We know, we are not. The EPP should be the advocate and flagship of a Europe, where there is a room for our Christian identity, our national pride, there is a room for our traditional family values and our workfare societies,” Prime Minister Orbán said.

“If we want Europe to remain the greatest place in the world, then the European Union has to change. And in order to lead the way, we must start changing ourselves, the European People’s Party. I am sure today we have taken a step in the right direction,” the prime minister concluded. We sincerely hope for many more steps in the right direction. For the future of Europe is at stake and there are times when bravery is not a luxury but the very basic necessity.

Read the full speech in English here.