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Apr 07, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

PM’s “Tough Love” is an International Youtube Success

A fan’s tribute to Prime Minister Orbán’s March 15 speech has enjoyed remarkable success on Youtube. After the user posted the speech with subtitles in English and called attention to some of the very direct language in the prime minister’s address, the video post garnered more than 200 thousand views within the first week of being published. When I last checked yesterday, the video had 6,000 likes, 100 dislikes and over 3,000 overwhelmingly positive comments.

During Hungary’s national holiday on March 15th, the anniversary commemorating the outbreak of the 1848 Freedom Fight, Prime Minister Orbán called on the nations of Europe to unite. Critics often portray the prime minister as combative and defiant of European norms, and it’s true that he does not shy from sharp debate. But in this year’s March 15 address, PM Orbán made it clear that he embraces “tough love”: not against Europe, but for Europe, for its future.

Here’s what he said:

“The time has come to ring the warning bell. The time has come for opposition and resistance. The time has come to gather our allies. The time has come to raise the flag of proud nations. The time has come to prevent the destruction of Europe, and to save the future of Europe. To this end, regardless of party affiliation, we call on every citizen of Hungary to unite, and we call on every European nation to unite. The leaders and citizens of Europe must no longer live in two separate worlds. We must restore the unity of Europe. We the peoples of Europe cannot be free individually if we are not free together. If we unite our forces, we shall succeed; if we pull apart, we shall fail. Together we are strength, disunited we are weakness.”

These are powerful and encouraging words at a time when Europe’s significance seems to be on the wane, when new challengers are taking on the old continent, seeking to destroy its unity.

“Now this is leadership,” writes one viewer in the comments section under the video.

“Brilliant speech from a brilliant leader. You have my unreserved support,” says another.

Prime Minister Orbán speaks frankly when the situation calls for it. And make no mistake: Europe stands before a grave challenge. Acts of terror in Paris, Brussels, Cologne and Istanbul, recent terror threats to every European nation, including Hungary and Portugal, all send a message that Europe is weak and unable to protect itself. Prime Minister Orbán believes otherwise.

“Europe is underestimating itself,” he said in a radio interview earlier in March. “We Europeans number five hundred million, and this means that there are more of us than the Russians and the Americans combined. We are one of the world’s most developed economic regions. Our technological means, state of development and financial strength enable us to defend ourselves.”

We should not be waiting. Europe itself, the nations of Europe must learn to trust themselves again, and to save Europe’s future, we must join forces. For Europe’s future must be saved. This is the point that Prime Minister Orbán has been driving for so long now. This is the idea that’s winning him Europe’s respect in difficult negotiations. This is the idea that has appealed so strongly to the Youtube audience. We want a prosperous Europe, strong and safe because it stands up for itself.