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Feb 06, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán in Rome: Liberalism is over; it’s time for Christian Democracy

Following meetings with Italian PM Giuseppe Conte, Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi in Rome, Prime Minister Orbán addressed a panel at the National Conservatism Conference on Tuesday. There, he talked about a handful of Europe’s most pressing problems.

Liberalism is over, and now a new type of government in the form Christian democracy is needed, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at the National Conservatism Conference in Rome on Tuesday.

The PM noted that in recent history, liberal governments have had two major failures: their complete mismanagement of the 2008 global financial crisis and their current handling of the migration crisis. The latter issue, of course, began back in 2015 “when they failed to protect their citizens and their countries’ borders.”

Addressing the issue of migration, PM Orbán warned that while the Muslim population in Europe is on the rise, there’s a decline in the number of Christians.

“The result will be a new kind of society, one that’s preferred by Europe’s liberals because they believe that a society that is religiously and ethnically mixed will bring about a better life,” the prime minister said.

“I don’t want to tell Europe what sort of social composition she should have, but then she must not tell Hungary how to approach the question,” PM Orbán said, adding that Hungary is not willing to take the risks that come with such immigration.

On the future of the European Union, PM Orbán said there are two diverging concepts. One is to build it from the bottom up, through a cooperation of nation states, while the other is a top-down approach, which he regards as an "empire-oriented view."

The problem with today’s European People’s Party (EPP), according to PM Orbán, is that it wants to be part of the EU power structure at all costs. Even “if the price is to concede certain values and make compromises with the left, they will do it, losing their identity step by step." The prime minister said that he aims to correct the EPP’s course through a “counter-revolution.”

Speaking about the hardships of being a conservative leader in Europe, PM Orbán said (see video below) that with a headwind that “is so strong in Europe from the liberal media, intellectuals and universities, the only way to survive as a national conservative or Christian democratic leader like me is being successful.” If you are not successful, he continued, there’s no help or support from the outside.

“In the last years, we have had 4 and 5 percent economic growth rates every year. Unemployment rate was when I started in 2010, 12 percent; now it’s 3, basically full employment. State indebtedness was 85 percent of the GDP; now it’s less than 70,” the prime minister said, citing figures that illustrate the success of Hungary’s economic policy since 2010.

In conclusion, PM Orbán identified financial and economic success as the precondition to any conservative politics.

“If you are not successful locally, running your government well,” he said, “internationally, you will be killed the next morning. I have to be financially very, very stable; otherwise there is no basis to run our conservative politics.”