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Mar 15, 2016

PM Orbán: ‘The time has come that we must save Europe’s future’

“No European nation can be free if Europe is not [free],” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, “and today, Europe is not.” Addressing a crowd gathered in front of the National Museum, the prime minister was speaking today on the March 15th holiday, the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1848 Revolution, a national uprising that grew into a war of independence from the Austrian Empire.

In 1848, the newly built National Museum served as the site of an important rally on March 15th, and the Hungarian prime minister’s address in front of the building has long been a traditional part of the national holiday. This year’s speech (available here in English) drew parallels between the struggle for national independence that swept over Europe in the mid-19th century and today’s Europe of nations that warns against the growing powers of a centralized European Union.

Today, said Prime Minister Orbán, the future of the European community is at stake. “Our common home, Europe, is not free because freedom starts with [being able to] speak the truth.”

In today’s Europe, he said, it is forbidden to call mass migration a threat, to say that millions waiting in line to immigrate to Europe increases the prospects of crime and terror. It is forbidden to say that mass migration endangers our culture and customs, or that migrants who arrived earlier are not integrating but instead are building parallel societies. It is forbidden to suggest that this process is “not a coincidence, but a well-planned and managed action.” It is forbidden to say that in Brussels they are working on “transporting and settling aliens here” in order to weaken nation states. “In Brussels today, many people are working on a plan of a United States of Europe to which nobody ever gave authorization,” the prime minister said.

Alluding to the historical parallels, the prime minister noted that “the enemies of freedom today are different” than back in 1848 or 1956. “Today they won’t imprison you, won’t take you into lagers, won’t occupy [the country] with tanks.” Instead, the “flash fires of the world press” fight by using “condemnation and blackmail.” But this has proved insufficient as the people of Europe have woken up to the threat posed by mass migration.

“The nations of Europe, napping in well-being have understood that doomsday is threatening,” a “slow water that washes away the shores with permanent erosion. It sells itself as a humanitarian issue, but in reality it is occupation of territory and what’s occupation of territory for them, that’s losing territory for us,” the prime minister said, adding that initial numbers referred to a few hundred, a few thousand refugees, but today there is no European politician who would dare say that the number will not increase to hundreds of thousands.

Hungary, Prime Minister Orbán said, has always been and still is open to people who are forced to flee their homeland and seek a safe shelter. “The history of our nation is the history of inclusion,” he said. However, those “who come with the intent of re-shaping our country, who come in a violent way and against our will, always faced resistance.”

Closing his speech, PM Orbán called for a concerted opposition to the migration agenda of Brussels.

“If we aim to stop mass migration, we have to restrain Brussels first. We cannot allow Brussels to place itself above the law,” the prime minister said. “We are not going to import to Hungary the kind of criminal activities, terrorism, homophobia and anti-Semitism that sets synagogues on fire. We will not let others tell us whom should we live with, whom we should share our country with. We refuse compulsory settlement and we will not bow to blackmailing or threats.”

“The time has come,” PM Orbán said, “to ring the alarms” to stand up and resist, to seek allies. “We call to unite…every Hungarian citizen and every nation [of Europe]. The nations of Europe cannot be free on their own if they are not free collectively,” he said. “Together, we are power. Divided, we are weakness.” The question, the prime minister said, recalling a slogan from the 1848 revolution lifted from the writing of the revolutionary poet Sándor Petőfi is, “Shall we be slaves or free?”

For the English translation of the speech, please click here.