Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s press statement following his meeting with Prime Minister of Poland Beata Szydło
22 September 2017, Warsaw (Warszawa)
A sincere welcome to you all, good afternoon.
First of all, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for having kindly invited me to make an official visit to Poland. An official visit is always a little different from a working visit: an official visit is primarily about respect, and so in addition to meeting the Prime Minister I will also have the opportunity to visit the Sejm and meet the entire political leadership of Poland. This is an honour for us. Coming to Poland means that one is a guest of one of the European Union’s most successful countries. If you take a look at Poland’s economic, scientific and cultural achievements, then you will see that the European Union would be a lot poorer without this country. In addition to this, Polish GDP growth is truly fantastic, and the country’s economic performance is one of the driving forces in the European Union. Although it is perhaps a little immodest of me to mention this, I would also like to point out that we too are there, following in Poland’s footsteps. And we Hungarians are not alone in this, as both the Slovakians and the Czechs are also there. Accordingly, we can safely say that today saw a meeting between two prime ministers from a region without which the economic performance of the European Union would be much more modest, and without which the European project could never be successful.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Throughout history the Poles and the Hungarians have cooperated well, and we are also looking for opportunities to cooperate today. Our trade figures and trade flow look good, but Prime Minister Szydło and I spoke about our firm desire to launch one or two major joint Polish-Hungarian projects in the period ahead. We would be pleased if the other V4 countries joined us in this, but we would definitely like to launch economic projects which have a major impact on the national economies of our two countries. We will be discussing the specific details in the coming weeks and months.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We also spoke about the future of Europe. We came to an agreement on ourselves – if one can put it like that, in the sense of jointly, and with regard to ourselves – that if we look at Poland and Hungary in relation to disputes over the future of the European Union, then we can refer to ourselves as countries which are guardians of the original Treaty of the European Union that is in force today. And in the European Union we are working to ensure that nobody can deviate from the treaty that represents the Union’s foundations. I would like to remind you that the Treaty begins with the Member States, and identifies the European Union’s centre of gravity as the Member States themselves. We continue to believe in this ideal. And the Treaty states that the foundations of the European Union must be built on the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation that is due to every country. And indeed we always show this respect – not just to each other: we also show respect and acknowledgement to all third countries – even if sometimes they do not reciprocate. I must state that what is happening today in the European Union with regard to Poland shows a lack of respect. It is not just a political error or a simple case of injustice – which it is – but it is, in essence, a display of disrespect. I believe people should speak to Poland – and about Poland – in the respectful tone that is embodied in the Treaty of the European Union.
Of course we also spoke about our ongoing disputes within the European Union. I listened to the Prime Minister’s arguments in relation to the rule of law. I am reasonably familiar with the details of this issue, and have concluded that the criticisms related to the rule of law in Poland are unfounded. Hungary does not think it is right for anyone to make unfounded criticisms about the rule of law in any Member State. We are not talking about national solidarity here, and I’m not talking about Polish-Hungarian history, but about a matter of principle. The European Union cannot afford to launch a baseless rule of law procedure or threaten any Member State with such action. I am certain that there is political motivation behind what is happening in international disputes with regard to the rule of law in Poland. Poland is being threatened with a political procedure, which to all intents and purposes is like an inquisition. Hungary will never accept and will never support a procedure of this kind, and will always show solidarity with Member States who are threatened with the launch of such a procedure. Double standards are unacceptable, and there is no place in the European Union for political inquisitions.
Of course we must ask ourselves the reason behind this politically-motivated inquisition. And it is precisely in the debates concerning the future of the European Union that we can find this reason; because the standpoint of Poland – and indeed that of Hungary and others – is that we need a European Union that does not allow European institutions – especially the European Commission – to repeatedly and stealthily appropriate competences from Member States in the way they have done over the past ten years. And accordingly, in Europe in the decades to come we would like to see less of Brussels and see stronger nation states. I believe that this standpoint is why they have been targeting Poland and launching political attacks on it.
With relation to the future of the European Union, we also spoke about the issue of migration. I told the Prime Minister that in Europe there is a new situation. Member States have split into two clear and very well-defined groups. One such group of countries is formed by the “immigrant countries”, which seek to build their futures, their demographic structures and their job markets on immigrants. These are principally the European Union’s former colonial powers. And then there is the group of countries that do not want to become immigrant countries. They want to solve their demographic problems through family policy; they want to solve their labour market problems through economic and family policy; and they do not want to yield to immigration. There are immigrant and non-immigrant countries, and it is my firm belief that the future of Europe depends on how these two groups within the European Union succeed in coming to an agreement. I told the Prime Minister that I don’t see the situation as promising. Because instead of accepting each other – our acceptance of immigrant countries’ decision to be immigrant countries, and our request for their acceptance that we, however, do not want to become immigrant countries – they want to force us to be like them. So instead of mutual acceptance, the immigrant countries are trying to force us to also be immigrant countries. Of course a prime minister’s mandate is always for four years – at least as far as Hungary is concerned – but the truth is that this responsibility cannot be measured in four-year terms. We are responsible for the future of Hungary: not only for those who are alive today, and not only for those who are adults, but also for our children and for Hungarians who will be born in future. And we don’t want to leave them a country that has become an immigrant country, and which has an ethnic composition in its schools like that revealed by figures recently released in Austria. We aren’t criticising immigrant countries, but we demand – and will fight for – the right to receive respect from others for the Hungarian nation’s decision not to adopt those other country’s current societal profiles and not to become an immigrant country. We do not want to acquire a mixed population like those in many countries to the west of us, in which different civilisations live side-by-side, with the result that in the mixture of two civilisations the Christian element is in continuous decline and is losing the power to influence life. We want to protect European values, our way of life and our traditions. Therefore we seek a solution to our demographic and labour market problems which is different from that seen in immigrant countries. And all we ask is that this is respected, for us to be able to ask that our standpoint is respected; this is something we demand, because this is indeed our right. The Prime Minister and I agreed on this.
In summary, we have had a successful meeting. I am grateful to the Prime Minister and can hardly wait for us to be able to launch truly significant and dynamic joint Polish-Hungarian economic projects.
Thank you for your attention.