Interview given by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to Hungarian Television
Rome, March 25, 2017
The sole purpose of this meeting was to sign a document about the future of Europe. On the one hand, this document draws up a balance sheet of the past sixty years – one which we have every reason to be proud of. On the other hand, however, it looks forward to the great issues for the future, about which we have reason to feel concerned – or to feel that there are formidable challenges we must address. Every speaker referred to great tasks for the future, they all mentioned the attacks and the presence of terrorism in Europe, and everyone showed solidarity with the British – although they are not present now, as we are discussing the future of Europe, and in the future they will no longer be a member of the European Union. Everyone, however, mentioned the London attack, and offered the British their sympathy; this clearly demonstrates that we will continue to share the same planet, and the UK will still be a neighbour of ours – even if they are not a member of the European Union. In my view the penny may now have dropped: everyone can clearly see that normality in Europe can only be restored if everyone creates or maintains order in their own country and every nation attends to its own security and well-being, as we can only rely on ourselves for the solutions – for the answers to the great challenges. It is true that this is a community of free countries, but everyone must do their own tasks in their home countries. If we want a safe Hungary, we can only rely on ourselves: it is we who must make it safe. If we want to grow economically, we must work harder and better, we must be competitive, and we must build an economy in which everyone is needed, and there is a job for everyone. These jobs will not be done for us by others, and no ceremonial declaration of any kind will change that. If we can be proud of our own country, we can be proud of Europe; there is no proud Europe without a proud Hungary.
László Mészáros: Prime Minister, you mentioned the closing declaration. How do you see it? Have Hungarian national interests been adequately incorporated into this document?
We have come a long way, and the document that we have adopted only bears a vague similarity to the one that we first discussed. I presented several proposals on behalf of Hungary, and most of these now appear in the text. So this is a good document with regard to the future of Hungary, strategy for the Hungarian nation and the Hungarian people’s interests.
Could you mention an example or two?
For instance, there is mention of the protection of the borders: that we must protect our borders. It points out that we can only rely on ourselves, and we have to find the European answers to problems ourselves rather than expect the institutions in Brussels to find them for us. It also states that the most important issues are the protection of the borders and taking action against migration – against illegal migration. It features statements about the fight against terrorism, which is necessary for our security, and it also points out that we must create jobs. Hungary is today the only country in the European Union which has set out to achieve full employment. We do not expect higher living standards for the people and a more successful Hungarian economy to be delivered by benefits, but by jobs. These thoughts are all there in the closing document. It is true that, in addition to these, the document also features ideas which depart from this line of thinking, but which are important for other states. But given that the 27 of us have decided to live under the same roof, the rules of coexistence also apply to a document such as this.
Finally, in light of the fact that the Visegrád Four will have talks in Warsaw in a few days’ time, I would just ask you whether the closing document produced here and the ideas raised at this meeting will have any kind of afterlife at those talks.
Here and now we are speaking in a voice of unity, but the differences are obvious. If you look at the map of Europe, and if you look at the demographic situation or the migration situation, and the map of terrorist threats, you will see that up to now the Central Europeans have defended themselves well. We do not want this to change, and we shall continue to pursue a very strong anti-migration policy. The V4 hopes to address labour shortages with family policy measures and economies based on work, rather than through immigration. In other words, we do not want to help our own country with resources from outside, thereby bringing on ourselves an array of conflicts. We want to overcome our problems with reliance on our own resources; on this the members of the V4 stand firmly side by side.