Prime Minister Orbán at the 27th Bálványos Summer Open University and Summer Camp [full text in English]
Brexit, the migration crisis and the pressure it puts on Europe, economic hardship, the recent terror acts in European cities like Nice, Munich and Paris, have all affected our everyday lives and are issues Orbán believes that the EU has failed to address
Delivered in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tuşnad), 23rd July 2016
Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen, Bishop Tőkés, dear Zsolt,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here with you once again, after yet another year. The experience of seeing each other again is invaluable, and it warms one’s heart. This in itself is reason enough for the Open University’s existence. But for many years – for more than two decades – the Open University has also fulfilled another function, which is truly apparent when Hungary’s serving Prime Minister addresses you. By this I mean that a situation has emerged, an open university space has come into being, where we can talk about politics in a different light. We can talk about difficult and complicated affairs in a light which is different from that of the other 364 days of the year, when we submit to the demands of politics as a profession. This also gives rise to some problems, as European politics has deeply ingrained norms for the style of speech usually adopted for talking about politics and great European affairs. This is a style which may well not be understood by those other than the speakers themselves, but which will at least allow those speakers to avoid trouble. An open university, however, is a different world. An open university is worthless if the dilemmas which trouble us – and which are not only ours, but, as you will hear, are ones which torment all Europe – are not identified in our own language, and in a way which we ourselves can understand. Otherwise it would not be an open university, but a mere propaganda camp. Therefore I must now do something which at other times in my line of business is prohibited, and which all advisors counsel against: I shall tell you what I think about the European situation. And to make matters worse, I shall not only try to present sensitive and difficult issues to you, but I shall try to do so in a way which everyone can understand. So I shall choose a style of speech which in Europe today is prohibited: straight talking. The moment we describe our problems and troubles using a straightforward style of speech we must expect to be branded: we must count on being downgraded, excluded, and in general exiled from the European mainstream. When the mainstream is in trouble, of course, a timely exclusion from it is an advantage rather than a disadvantage. Earlier we would not have thought this, but now this is increasingly the case. Hungary has been excluded from the European mainstream, and everything we have tried to do has been viewed and interpreted as something outside the bounds of established European politics. This has been true of our Constitution, which sought to reinforce our Christian roots; it has been true of our policy on demography; and it has been true of the unification of the nation across borders. Looking back over the last few years this now seems to have been more of an advantage than a disadvantage. Indeed right now no one can rule out the European mainstream following the same path in the next few years which it has itself tried so hard to prevent Hungary following. This is how the black sheep will become the flock, and this is how the exception will become the rule.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We do not know whether this will indeed be so, but what we see in Europe does not preclude this way of looking at events. At the same time, just yesterday I was somewhat at a loss, and this was how I felt right through the night, as I attempted to compose my presentation for today. I have never felt quite as much at a loss in this respect as I did last night. There are so many events which require an explanation, and which we should talk about when we get together. There is yesterday’s Munich attack, the attacks in France, and the day before yesterday hundreds of migrants setting out on foot from Belgrade for Hungary. In the United States, Mr. Trump has become the Republican presidential candidate, and he has delivered a momentous speech – which would justify an open university discussion in its own right. The British are leaving the European Union. These are all events which in themselves demand an explanation. At the same time it is not the purpose of an open university presentation to describe phenomena, but to attempt to find the motivations and correlations underlying the events; and obviously the questions will also help in this attempt.
The truth is that for this host of phenomena, from which I have just highlighted only a few, there is no broadly accepted explanation: there is no explanation which is widely endorsed by those engaged in European politics. There is no explanation – no approved explanation – for the mass of phenomena which I would now describe to you as follows: fear in Europe is increasing day by day. In Europe today there is an overwhelming feeling that the future is uncertain. And here now – dispensing with the means and methods which are rightly expected in academic treatises – I shall try to identify the root cause, the deep origin of these phenomena which fill us with fear.
As I was listening to Bishop Tőkés, I realised that last night, instead feeling at a loss, I should have phoned him up, because he would have given me the sentence about which I should now speak in earnest as the starting point of my speech. He quoted from Nehemiah: Do not be afraid… fight. But what does this mean? Against what do we need to fight? If we are unable to define what it is that we must fight against, we will be unable to choose the right form of combat: what is effective and what is counterproductive. We will be unable to select the right means. If we are unable to say what it is that we need to fight against, we cannot say what are the best means and what harms us, rather than what benefits us. This is why it is important to try to jointly define at a European level what it is that we must fight against – and I think that over the next year this will be Europe’s most important task.
Ladies and Gentlemen, on the surface this naturally emerges in the form of migration, terrorism and uncertainty. But what does all of this stem from? As far as troubles are concerned, there is a similarity between the two distinct parts of the Western world: the troubles of America beyond the ocean and those of the European continent. Over the last fifty years, a young European – not one in the territories occupied by the Soviet army, but, say, a young German, French, British or Belgian person – could be told: “My dear young friend, if you complete your studies, if you respect our laws, and if you work hard, you can rest assured that you will go further and you will have a better life than your parents”. That was the prospect that made the great European dream, the great European story – the European Union – so attractive to us. That was not the case here in Hungary from 1945 until 1990. But in America, in places west of us and in the territory of the European Union, this was seen to be as natural as two and two making four. What do we see today? I’m afraid that I would be laughed at if I told an English, a German or a French youth today that if you observe the laws, if you respect your parents, if you complete your studies and if you work hard, you will surely make good progress, and you will get further and have a better life than your parents. In Europe this is the promise of life which has been shaken, the promise which has been lost. This has serious consequences. This is, in fact, an economic crisis. If we look for the causes of this process, the phenomenon I have just described (which I would rather not go into now), we would find the explanation that Western economies were joined by competitors which challenged their global economic hegemon: in India and China billions of people entered this contest. This completely redirected the flow of the goods produced in the world, and the West – but the European Union in particular – has so far been unable to adapt to this change. As a result there is less for the West to share, its performance is gradually declining, and its contribution to total global economic output is continuously decreasing. In consequence, future generations will not have the prospects their parents may have had.
Ladies and Gentlemen, from this phenomenon – which is an economic crisis – it follows that our everyday life is characterised by an unacknowledged crisis of the European elite. Naturally, over the past fifty to sixty years in Western Europe elections have been won sometimes by Christian democrats and those on the right, and at other times by those on the left. But in fact for fifty to sixty years Europe’s leaders – whether on the left or on the right – have always come from the same circle, the same elite, the same mentality, the same schools, the same institutions raising generations of young politicians. This was something which everyone took for granted while they were able to guarantee increasing prosperity in Europe while competing with each other and holding power in rotation with each other. When the economic crisis called this into question, however, the economic crisis turned into a crisis of the elite. What we see in the news today – and what the elite in power describes as something negative, of course – is that new groups are emerging: radicals, populists, players seeking to represent political interests which are outside the established political elite. This is true whether we are talking about the American presidential candidate or the German party Alternative for Germany. And I could continue. These are all signs of a crisis of the elite. We could move on, as the European elite will somehow conquer this crisis; but the problem is that the crisis of the elite has already become a crisis of democracy. So the economic crisis turned into a crisis of the elite, and the crisis of the elite has turned into a crisis of democracy, because large numbers of people obviously and spectacularly want something different – something other than that proposed and enacted by the conventional elites. This is what creates the unrest, the nervousness, the tension, in the background of which there are the lightning flashes of a terrorist attack, an act of violence, or an apparently unstoppable flow of migration. This is why the lights are so harsh, and this is why we find the terrorist attacks so shocking. It is not that some lunatic commits a horrific act in France or in Germany. We have seen this before. Whether or not it is the case, we somehow have the impression that these incidents are almost inevitable consequences of this general uncertainty and unrest. This is what makes us uncertain; because it creates the impression that what happens in Nice – or in Munich for that matter – can happen in almost any country in Europe at any time.
Well, now, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Uncertainty and fear, which sum up the psychological state of the European continent today, destroy the soul. If you are in fear, if you are afraid, you do not embark on great adventures. If you are afraid you try to defend yourself. In order to achieve great things you need an open soul and a big heart. When you want to absorb all the knowledge and all the ideas, this results in something great – say, the unification of the Hungarian nation, or building the Hungarian economy in a way which seeks to catch up with the historic development of the last fifty years in a short span of time. This takes openness: openness to ideas, cooperation and trust. Fear, however, forces everyone – countries, people, families, economic actors – to a raise their defences on all sides. This will not create a great Europe. This attitude is not conducive to Europe regaining its former role.
The attack in Munich – and I pay my respects to the victims – shocks us to the core. This is because the idea has always been there implicitly in the Hungarian mind (or rather in Hungarian sentiment generally, and in my own mind not just as a sensation, but as a thought), that the Germans, while often posing a great threat – and having often posed a great threat to the Hungarians in the past one thousand years – are on the whole a useful country to the west of us: they are, after all, a reasonable people with common sense. They are resistant to extremes: either intellectual extremes, crazy economic ideas, or terrorist attacks which shake our faith in security. Over the past fifty years we have always looked upon Germany as the western guarantor of our security. And therefore, to the Hungarian mind, the gravity of what happened yesterday in Munich is different from that of the recent incident in Nice. It is not simply that the Germans are geographically closer to us, but this is something which has happened to a people about whom we preserved a completely different image in our heads. And this shows us that we, too, must deal ever more seriously with the issue of security, as quite clearly it no longer exists one hundred per cent in Germany either.
Ladies and Gentlemen, if we therefore decide that our response to the call to not be afraid must be to banish the fear of uncertainty from our lives, then politics must explore what it can do to achieve this. Ladies and Gentlemen, as we are a member of the European Union, I am going to tell you today what the European Union should do differently in order to banish fear and uncertainty from the lives of the people of Europe.
First of all, it must abandon a few bad things. In the West one of these bad things – bad in my view, though it is presented in a positive light – is the move away from nations. This is the restriction of national sovereignty in favour of European powers; I am convinced that this is one of the greatest threats in Europe today. There are things against which Brussels is unable to provide protection, but against which we as nations are able to protect. Therefore we must stop all ideas, political actions and initiatives which seek to withdraw powers from the nation states, whether openly or by stealth. This policy must be abandoned.
The second thing we must do is put an end to false perceptions of ourselves. If you listen to a European leader today, they still talk about the European Union as they did ten or fifteen years ago. But, Ladies and Gentlemen, ten or fifteen years ago – or perhaps even up until the withdrawal of Britain – there was no doubt that the European Union was a global player. In other words, it was a player in world politics which was able to influence events not only in its own part of the world, on its own territory, but in any distant part of the world. It was a global player – but with Britain’s departure an era has come to an end, and we must openly admit that this capability of the European Union has effectively come to an end with it. Today the European Union is a regional player. At best it is able to influence events taking place in its own environment. But, as we can see, it is hardly able to do even that, as the key role in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict is not played by the European Union, but by the United States. We can see that Europe does not play a decisive role in influencing events in Syria, the Middle East or Iraq – the events of that unstable region. Key roles are far rather played by the United States and the Russians. We must therefore admit that, when it looks upon itself as a global player in the global political arena, the European Union is fooling itself. We must admit that, even if we do have some influence over events taking place outside our own territory, our influence is confined to the region immediately surrounding us.
And the third thing which we must put an end to is what I would describe as the idealisation of Europe. As this event’s slogan makes amply clear, we do not have an identity problem. Not as much as the British, who do not precisely know whether they are European or not. For a Hungarian this is not a question: if you are Hungarian, you are European. As expressed in the slogan of this camp, we were European, we are European, and we shall be European. So far, so good. To the west of us, however, a political line has evolved from this “sensation of life” which continuously manufactures an ideology out of Europe. According to this attitude, Europe is not an international community which is able to solve the problems of the nations within it: it is instead an ideal, an ideology. It is a closed set of ideals, which should assume as many powers as possible; and this is seen as a positive process which should be encouraged. If, however, the nations solve their own problems within their own competence, this is at least suspect. And if nations want to take back some powers – as the British tried to do – this attempt is doomed to failure. So if someone creates an ideology out of Europe, of necessity they will answer every question by saying that we need a common European response. In reality, however, there are questions to which good answers may be found by acting together, and there are questions for which joint efforts provide inadequate answers. Migration and the protection of borders, for instance, specifically fall into the latter category. For as long as we tried to solve the problem together – and now I am talking about spring 2015 – the problems only multiplied. But since we established that everyone who signed the Schengen Agreement is required to protect their own borders – and we Hungarians got down to doing this – the problem has subsided. The gravity of this problem has subsided.
Therefore we must not say that a policy in which there are more and more European actors and powers is, as a matter of course, more valuable and better than a policy which features fewer. If we fail to give up this way of thinking – if we fail to return from an ideological mentality to a practical mentality – I am convinced that we will likewise be unable to put an end to the uncertainty.
Another thing which we need in order to restore security in Europe is to admit that we have made some bad decisions. We have made at least three bad decisions within the European Union in the past few years. The first one was to enhance the role of the European Parliament. This did not improve the operational efficiency of the European institutions, but compromised it. The second bad decision we made was to allow the European Commission to declare itself a political player – contrary to the European Treaty, which points out that the Commission is the guardian of the Treaties, and as such is politically neutral. The European Commission sees itself as a political body; as a result it is usurping the role assigned by the Treaty to the European Council – the body of European heads of state and government. According to the European Union’s founding treaties, it is the duty and obligation of the council of national prime ministers to set political direction. Today we see that on issues on which no agreement is reached by the prime ministers – such as the issue of the mandatory migrant quotas – the European Commission launches a mandatory quota policy and quota regulation on its own initiative. Not only has it cheated the prime ministers, and has by stealth appropriated some national competences, but a European organisation which no one has elected is assuming a political role. And as a result it is inducing a crisis of democratic legitimacy within the European Union. And it was likewise a bad decision when we concluded that we should improve the efficiency of the functioning of the European Union by discarding the need for unanimity and allowing collective decisions on the basis of two-thirds majorities – even on issues of existential significance to nation states. This is why a situation has developed on mandatory migrant relocation quotas in which – despite the opposition of a number of countries – the Commission has used its own path within the European institutions to push through rules with a two-thirds majority. In this it has benefited from the support of large states, without the need for unanimity, which is what we should now apply. Of course, that is not what will happen, but we are contesting the decision in court. The Commission is also preparing to adopt rules in the future which are contrary to the will of at least one third of Member States. To avoid always citing the issue of migration, I will mention the economic issue of the posting of workers, on which twelve national parliaments announced that they do not agree with the Commission’s proposal. This is what we call a “yellow-card warning”. Twelve national parliaments. And the Commission have said that they do not care. There is a two-thirds majority, based on population, not the number of countries. As there is a two-thirds majority from the beginning of the legislative process right through to the end, they do not care about the yellow-card warning of the twelve national parliaments, and they will not accommodate it or take it into consideration. All these things show that, while we wanted to improve the European Union’s efficiency, we have made decisions which are counterproductive and, in the new situation which we find ourselves in, they undermine rather than enhance the European Union’s unity and popular support.
Ladies and Gentlemen, after this, in the context of uncertainty, I must also say a few words about terrorism and immigration. In politics the most miserable and depressing thing is a debate about an issue which is obvious. This is not about conclusions, or lessons to be learnt; no, here we are engaged in a higher, superior level of intellectual activity, and we are debating about facts: whether white is white, black is black, or two and two is four – or perhaps three or five. And today debates of this kind burden the European Union. It is hard to create order in these debates. We opted to ask our support institution – called Századvég – to conduct a European public opinion poll about what people actually think: on whether there is a correlation between terrorism and migration, for instance. And, Ladies and Gentlemen, this was a survey across the twenty-eight Member States, so it was a pan-European survey, not only a Hungarian one. We obtained the following absolutely clear figures, which I shall quote right now. More than sixty per cent of people saw an absolutely clear and direct correlation between the rise in migration and rises in terrorism and crime. Similarly, on the question of whether immigration changes the culture of a country, sixty-three per cent of the citizens of the twenty-eight Member States believe that it does. Meanwhile, the European elites claim that this is not so, and that these correlations do not exist. I am therefore convinced that in order for the European continent to regain its security, the current European elite must accept some basic principles, even if they do not coincide with their ideological world views. Migration poses a threat, increases terrorism and increases crime. Mass migration fundamentally changes Europe’s cultural make-up. Mass migration destroys national culture. If we do not accept this view, if this does not become the European position, we will be unable to act against this threat.
If you look at the documents issued by the European Union on this subject, you will see that while the European Union proposes measures on migration, it does not define the purpose of those measures. Even though I attend the meetings every month, to this day I am unable to tell you the purpose of the European measures on migration: whether it is what I think and would like – that we should stop migration and should not let anyone in without controls; or whether it is what they say – that we should slow migration down. I do not know whether we want to stop it or slow it down. I want to stop it because I believe that this is a bad thing. If they only want to slow it down they do not see it as a bad thing, but only see it as harmful in this form. The documents of the European Union frequently state that Europe’s demographic problems can be effectively solved through migration. On the table now there is a seven-item package of proposals from the Commission which was published in May. This continually conflates demographic issues with migration issues and problems of labour supply. So if in this area we do not start talking plainly and transparently about a clear structure, it is highly likely that we will never reach agreement.
I am not Donald Trump’s campaign manager. I had never thought that it would seem to me that, of the candidates on offer, he would, after all, be the best option for Europe and Hungary. I would never have thought so. But I have listened to that candidate, and I have to say that he made three proposals for curbing terrorism. And, as a European, I myself could hardly have given a better analysis of what Europe needs. The first thing he said was that the world’s best secret service must be created in America. This is the precondition for everything else. I believe that individually and in cooperation, Europe’s national secret services must show themselves be the world’s most capable. This is the first precondition for our security.
The second thing that this resolute American presidential candidate said was that the policy of exporting democracy must be abandoned – again I could not have expressed this any more accurately. Why, after all, are masses of migrants now coming to Europe from Africa across the Mediterranean? This is because the Europeans – and later perhaps the Western powers under the auspices of the UN – succeeded in crushing the regime in Libya. That regime may not have been democratic, but it was highly stable in terms of border controls. This was done without ensuring that there would be a new government which could provide stability. We have done the same thing in Syria and in Iraq. Therefore it is true that if we continue to subordinate stability to building democracy in regions where its chances of success are extremely doubtful, then we will not be building democracy, but we will instead be creating instability. This is also a major lesson to be learnt in relation to the latest events in Turkey – which naturally I do not wish to comment on now. But if you ask me what our number one expectation is, what Hungary’s number one expectation is in relation to Turkey, at the top of the list would be stability. Of course we are not indifferent to the quality of political life there, or to human rights – especially as this is a country which is still formally seeking to join the European Union, where there are fundamental expectations in this regard. But on the whole, in terms of life today the highest priority is that Turkey should remain stable. Because if Turkey also becomes unstable, tens of millions of people will flood into the European Union from that region without any kind of screening, controls or barriers.
And one can also frown, as many in the West do, at the fact that, after we allowed democracy to break out in Egypt with European assistance – indeed we ourselves induced it – the people decided to democratically elect a fundamentalist Islamic government. Of course this alarmed us, and then we had no choice other than to welcome the fact that the Egyptian military were prepared to regain political power – in circumstances which were not entirely clear, and which were less than perfect from a democratic point of view. Now, instead of supporting the military forces there which finally regained power to stabilise the region, we continually criticise them. Or in Libya, instead of arming those groups which also support the Libyan government and saying that this will be the new Libyan army, we criticise the democratic failings of political actors in a country which is struggling to find a way out of civil war. If we continue like this, we will destabilise these regions and people will flood into Europe from the zone where we should receive protection, where we should build protection, and where we should reinforce stability.
I have a few figures here to enable you to appreciate the magnitude of this over the next twenty years. I know that numbers are boring, but I have to quote figures here, because the experiences of everyday life do not quite demonstrate in their harsh reality the processes which will determine our lives in twenty or thirty years’ time. Hungarians, a large majority of the Hungarian population, are indifferent to demographics – not because they don’t care about the future of their children and grandchildren, but because a demographic decline will not present a personal problem and a challenge tomorrow morning. These are processes which emerge on a time scale different to that of people’s own lives. Therefore, if we don’t repeatedly quote the figures about the realities we will have to confront in twenty or thirty years’ time – in the face of sneers and jibes from our critics – we shall not be able to create family policy, economic policy or security policy. So I have a few figures here which I would like to share with you (if I can find them), which are population projections for the next twenty to thirty years in the region that I am now talking about. I’ll have to quote the figures about the magnitude off the top of my head. We shall have to prepare for the fact that Egypt’s population, for example, will almost double. We shall have to prepare for the fact that Syria’s population – despite the significant outflow – will continue to rise significantly, and at a fast pace. We will see the population of Libya likewise increase – even though it is going through a civil war. I have the figures now. By 2050 Egypt’s population will increase from 90 million to 138 million. The population of Nigeria will increase from 186 million to 390 million. Uganda’s population will rise from 38 million to 93 million, and Ethiopia’s from 102 to 228 million. It is János Martonyi who usually warns us – and how right he is – that projecting current trends into the future requires caution, because in history there are always events which can change their course. But as we cannot prepare for unforeseeable events in the future, common sense tells us that we must project these figures into the future, and we must prepare for them. They clearly show that the real pressure on our continent will come from Africa. Today we are talking about Syria, today we are talking about Libya; but in fact we must prepare for the population pressure coming from the region beyond Libya – and its magnitude will be far greater than anything we have experienced so far. This warns us that we must be steely in our determination. Border protection – particularly when we need to build a fence and detain people – is something which is difficult to justify in aesthetic terms, but believe me, you cannot protect the borders – and thus ourselves – with flowers and cuddly toys. We must face this fact.
At the same time, it is very important – for our self-image, as well as our image in the outside world – to make it clear that we are not heartless people. We make a clear distinction between migrants and migration. In a migrant we mostly see a victim – with the exception of terrorists, of course. We see a person who is a victim of unfortunate situations in life, of the hard living conditions in his or her own country, of bad governance there, of our flawed and inviting migration policy, and of people smugglers. We understand this, we are well aware of this. As I have said, however, migration will destroy us. And migration is embodied in migrants. Therefore, much as we sympathise with them, and much as we see them as victims, we must stop them at our border, and we must make clear that, according to our laws, those who enter illegally must be put in prison or expelled from Hungary. There is no other, friendlier, form of defence, Ladies and Gentlemen, attendees at the Open University. Naturally we must do this in a humane, lawful and transparent manner – but we must do this all the same.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in summary of what I said before, I have to say that Europe has lost its global role, and has become a regional player. It is unable to protect its own citizens; it is unable to protect its external borders; it is unable to keep the community together, as Britain, the United Kingdom, has just left. What more is needed for one to openly declare that Europe’s political leadership has failed? It is unable to achieve a single one of its goals.
Therefore, when we meet in Pozsony [Bratislava, capital of Slovakia] in September, what we need are not cosmetic applications, not the sweeping of problems under the carpet, not whitewash; instead we shall have to state in no uncertain terms that we must come together to discuss Europe’s future, because Europe’s current political leadership has failed. We must make it clear that our problem is not in Mecca, but in Brussels. The obstacle for us is not Islam, but the bureaucrats in Brussels. We would be able to deal with Islam if we were allowed to deal with it in the way we think we should.
I have mentioned this now because in Pozsony in September Europe’s leaders will meet to discuss the future of Europe. People will go there with two distinctly different mind-sets. The current elite will seek to justify itself, and will try to demonstrate to all that the British are themselves responsible for their withdrawal, and that Europe’s leadership is not to be blamed for terrorism. They will say that anyone with a heart cannot possibly do anything about the pressure of migration coming from the South. And I could continue. With regard to each and every error committed to date, they will try to prove that though they may be errors, they are certainly not systemic errors. The reality, however, and we Central Europeans must represent this argument, is that Europe needs fundamental changes. And the question is whether we will be allowed to talk about this.
What about the “old Europe” and the “new Europe”? Earlier, when it was said that there is an old Europe and a new Europe, we were offended. President Chirac was particularly fond of talking about this. We said that we are a thousand-year-old Christian state, and asked what sort of a sick joke would classify us Hungarians as being part of some “new Europe”. If there is such a thing as an old Europe, it is here. This is quite apart from the fact that if we talk about how we envisage the capital of Europe, Budapest comes to mind more often than Brussels does. So earlier, when the “old” Member States of the European Union were called the “old Europe”, and we were called the “new Europe”, we were offended. Today I am not so sure that we should respond to this distinction from a historical-philosophical perspective, because today the old Europe means a Europe which is incapable of change. They are the founder members of the European Union, who created the Eurozone and who are clearly stagnating. And there is another Europe, the countries who were admitted to the European Union later, which is called the new Europe. This Europe is viable, full of energy, capable of renewal, and seeking answers to the new challenges. This part of our continent is prosperous. I therefore believe that the distinction between the old and the new is today much less insulting for us than it once was. And the truth is that if we observe how the economic crisis turned into a crisis of the elite, and how the crisis of the elite turned into a crisis of democracy, and if we define the geographical extent of this statement, we shall see that it is less true – or not true at all – of Central Europe. There is no economic crisis in Poland. In Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary – I would not venture to speak for Romania – young people believe that the old European dream is still true. If they observe the laws, if they respect and listen to their parents, if they heed their advice on the future, and if they work hard, a Polish, Czech, Slovak or Hungarian youth will surely have a better life and will go further than his or her parents. This European dream is still true and valid in the new Europe: in Central Europe. This is why in Central Europe the economic crisis did not become a crisis of the elite, and the crisis of the elite did not develop into a crisis of democracy. If we look at the referendum to be held on 2 October through this prism, we can say that Hungary is the only country in the whole of Europe where the people are being allowed to state their opinion on migration and immigration. The only place in Europe today where the people are being listened to is Central Europe.
To sum up, Ladies and Gentlemen, you can see that I have stumbled into the problem that I mentioned at the beginning: so many things have happened. I have not even spoken about Brexit, the possible consequences of the presidential election in the US, or relations between Ukraine and Russia – and I barely touched on migration. Similarly, I was barely able to mention future Hungarian economic and social policy plans – and already I have used twice as much time as was allocated to me by the camp management. This is the situation we are in. We are not living in an era for drawing grand conclusions; we are living in an era of continuous events, and in an era of daily adjustments provoked and necessitated by those continuous events. This is why my presentation has been fragmented and divergent, because this has been, I think, the best way to respond to the sensation we experience today when we think about life in Europe.
I would like to thank you for the attention and patience with which you have followed my presentation. In closing, all I can say to you is that, believe me, everything that we launched in Hungary in 2010, including the new Constitution based on Christian foundations; the policy for unification of the nation; including the cautious wording of Lajos Kósa’s advice, who in 2010 said that we should leave aside all questions and concentrate on a single thing, on family policy and demographic issues because our future depends on this. So including family policy. Including the focus on geopolitical realities, instead of a philosophically or ideologically driven foreign policy. All these measures that we have launched and implemented since 2010 in the interest of Hungary’s internal and external relations have served a single purpose, which I think recent developments have vindicated. This is that we want Hungary – and today we could hardly want for more – to remain a point of certainty in a world of uncertainty.
Thank you very much for your attention.