Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s address in Parliament before the start of daily business
Budapest, 18 September 2017
Honourable Speaker, Honourable Members of Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen,
My respectful salutations to the Honourable House. The final sitting of Parliament’s last session was on 15 June 2017. Three months have gone by since then. According to our constitutional conventions, at times like this the Prime Minister once again reports to Members of Parliament in session about the important events of the intervening period. This is why I have sought to address my fellow parliamentarians, Honourable Speaker.
As regards the country’s economic situation, the dry facts are as follows. By the end of June 2017 – the latest data we have – the national debt fell to below 74 per cent. In the second quarter our economy showed growth of 3.2 per cent, and we managed to further increase the number of people in employment: in Hungary today 4.434 million people are in employment – whom I would also like to thank for this achievement. This is an increase of 62,000 on last year. We have reduced unemployment from 227,000 a year ago to 193,000 today, and the rate is now 4.2 per cent; this means that full employment is now well within reach. We have been continuously reducing the number of people employed in public works schemes, and they are gradually moving into the private sector. Based on the aggregate data, we may venture to say that we have succeeded in building a workfare economy, the economy is working, and today Hungary is a country which is able to provide employment for every citizen who wishes to work.
We also have the data for the first half of this year relating to all forms of pay. In June, average pre-tax earnings amounted to HUF 290,300. This is a significant increase, but is far from sufficient. In addition to and parallel with boosting the competitiveness of our businesses, it is both necessary and possible to further increase wages. The development of industrial production shows that in industry there is potential for both growth and wage growth. The increase in production in the construction industry indicates that there, too, there is potential for further wage increases. In the second quarter the performance of the construction sector increased by 27 per cent compared with the corresponding period of last year. The revenues of hotels – and the performance of the hospitality industry in general – have grown and developed significantly: businesses have reported a 10 to 12 per cent rise. All this shows that in this department also we can count on further expansion of the workforce and on pay rises – particularly as we are also improving taxation conditions in the hospitality industry. Over the past seven years the number of people employed in agriculture has increased by 25 per cent, and in Hungary today 217,000 people earn a living in this sector, in which pre-tax earnings have increased by 42 per cent. Based on the data from the second quarter, on the whole I may conclude, Honourable Members of Parliament, that these pay rises mean that an increasing number of people will find it worthwhile to work in Hungary.
Parents have enrolled their children in school. Schools have once again reopened their doors. In September 2017 one and a half million children will be attending school and kindergarten. This number breaks down thus: 751,000 elementary school pupils; 78,000 vocational secondary school students; 5,800 students at training schools; 182,000 general grammar school students; and 168,000 students at specialist grammar schools. This year the number of children going to kindergarten will rise to 314,000, and 255,855 young people will have the opportunity of studying in higher education. Out of a total Hungarian population of ten million, in state institutions some one million children and young people are receiving education and being prepared for adult life.
As you are aware, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Hungarian government pursues family policy rather than immigration and migration policy. In this area there is also some information that I’d like to share with you. One of the elements of our family policy is the provision of meals for children. Over the past seven years the amount allocated for this purpose has increased by 150 per cent: this sum will be HUF 74 billion in 2017, and 80 billion in 2018. Today 467,000 children receive free meals in crèches, kindergartens and schools. Just think about this: today Hungary is strong enough to provide free meals for 467,000 children every day, and to remove this burden from the shoulders of families. Similarly, from this September we have extended the free supply of textbooks to all elementary school pupils and those in their first year at secondary school. Hungary is a country in which approximately 85 per cent of all students – more than one million students – receive textbooks free of charge. Hungary is a country in which, with the introduction of a career model for teachers, we have succeeded in increasing financial remuneration and recognition for our teachers. And while the situation is still far from perfect, it is hardly comparable with the state of affairs that we inherited from the previous government in 2010.
I would also like to inform the Honourable House about the results of the summer camps organised for children. Perhaps not everyone fully realises this, but this is an important issue: not only as we think back to our own childhoods, but I’m convinced it is a measure of the country’s strength, capability and state of mind. In 2017 some one hundred thousand children attended summer camp, and more than fifty thousand children were able to attend daytime “Erzsébet camps”. In 2017 one thousand Hungarian children from Transcarpathia had the opportunity to attend summer camp in Zánka, and we also hosted five hundred Ukrainian children and accompanying adults. It is natural for us that we should also extend a helping hand to Ukrainian families, as far as we are able to. This is why we are so distressed by the decision of Ukrainian politicians to deprive Hungarian children of education in their mother tongue in the later years of elementary school. The questions we ask are: What did these Hungarian children do to deserve this? What did their parents do to deserve this?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to inform the Honourable House that we have also launched a school development programme: 527 schools will be refurbished in four hundred settlements, 292 of which are in disadvantaged regions; consequently this is not only a school programme, but also a social inclusion programme. School developments worth more than HUF one billion will be launched in ten settlements: Pásztó, Kiskőrös, Bácsalmás, Iregszemcse, Babócsa, Kunszentmiklós, Makó, Kalocsa, Debrecen and Tata. In other words, Honourable House, our family policy – which includes family taxation, child health care, education, sport, housing benefits and a job protection plan for families – continues to be at the heart of the Government’s efforts. It’s heart-warming to see that the situation of families is improving. This means that our efforts have not been in vain.
I would like Members of Parliament to know that this September we’re launching a scholarship programme in secondary schools with vocational syllabuses in health care: this will involve some 3,200 students, and the monthly grants may amount to as much as HUF forty thousand each. At the same time, we allocated HUF 1.15 billion for the postgraduate training of nurses. At this point I would like to point out that this summer the Government also decided on the procurement of 93 new ambulances.
As regards security and foreign policy, perhaps the most important development is that on 1 July Hungary assumed the Presidency of the V4. The President of Egypt had talks in Budapest, and for the first time in thirty years an Israeli prime minister visited Budapest. We set up a joint counter-terrorism task force involving the V4 countries and Israel, and also agreed to raise relations between Israel and Hungary to a higher level.
And finally I’m pleased to inform the Honourable House that this summer Hungary – or, to be more precise, Budapest – entered the elite club of global sporting cities. The staging of the World Aquatics Championships and the World Judo Championships stands as proof that we are able to host any sporting event, any world sporting event – with the exception of the FIFA World Cup. On behalf of the Government I wish to express thanks to those who took part in the organisation of these events.
This summer Hungary and the Hungarian government continued their battle against Brussels’ mandatory relocation plans. You are well-acquainted with my position on this matter. The old world trade order – the world economic and political order that we’re used to – is being replaced by another: by a new world order. There’s nothing we can do about this: we cannot prevent it, as the lines of force are being redrawn on a global scale. Whether we like it or not, one consequence of this realignment is mass migration in the form of a new mass population movement, that has reached our European continent and has placed it under pressure. In addition, this mass population movement also coincides with an offensive by a major world religion: Islam’s latest global offensive.
You are well aware of my opinion that the European Union – our wider homeland – is pursuing a flawed immigration policy and a flawed foreign policy. And instead of admitting that it’s wrong, it persists in its mistaken ways. Europe is pursuing a policy that has had no parallel in several thousand years: a continent which, instead of protecting its external borders, is opening them up. This is yet another invitation to the masses of people already on their way, or in the process of setting out. What we’ve seen so far was only the warm-up. According to a NATO research institute projection shared with us, they forecast that by 2020 sixty million people will have set out from Africa – most of them heading for Europe. Consequences of this flawed Brussels policy are acts of terrorism which are becoming weekly occurrences, a dramatic deterioration in public security, and a transformation of Europe’s demographic, religious and cultural composition which can be seen in everyday life – without the need for research studies. Well, it is from this that we seek to protect ourselves, and it is from this that we seek to protect Hungary, Central Europe and – if still possible – the whole of the European Union.
As far as I can see, within the European Union a new divergence, a new fault line, a new factor distinguishing groups of countries from each other has come into being. In the European Union today there are immigrant countries and non-immigrant countries. There are countries which accept, approve of, and at times even organise the resettlement into Europe of migrants, immigrants, new settlers, invading population groups. These countries, most of which had a colonial past, have now already become mixed-population countries. The population ratios within the countries with mixed populations are quite clearly and undeniably changing: the relative size of the Christian element is declining, while the relative size of the non-Christian element is on the increase. Those who will not believe their eyes should consult the latest official data on school enrolment in Austria. From here on, it’s only a simple matter of mathematical calculation, and the final outcome is predictable.
At the same time, there are non-immigrant countries in the European Union – such as Hungary – which insist on their security, their way of life, and their national, religious and cultural identity. To put it in simple terms: we want a Hungarian Hungary; and – we add with a sigh – we would also like a European Europe.
The future of Europe and the European Union depends on whether these two country groups – the immigrant countries and the non-immigrant countries – will be able to find their way to some kind of co-existence, and a new, mutually agreed mode of cooperation. This is only possible if we respect the democratic will of the people in each other’s countries. We accept that the immigrant countries have decided to become immigrant countries. At the same time we are asking them to accept that we shall never be an immigrant country. This is the significance of the migrant quota lawsuit, and the ruling related to it that was handed down at the end of the summer. Today the immigrant countries want to resolve the differences between the two country groups by suggesting that we, too, should become immigrant countries; and if we’re not prepared to follow that path, they will force their will on us and compel us to do as they wish. This is the meaning of a mandatory migrant quota system and a mandatory resettlement system. I see this plan as the plan of George Soros, who devised it and published it under his own name. This is what is being implemented by the Brussels bureaucrats, who, incidentally, are feeding out of Soros’s hand. This is why the Commission has tabled an asylum reform plan proposing a permanent and mandatory relocation system.
The parliamentary groups of Fidesz and the Christian Democratic People’s Party have submitted a request to the Government to conduct a national consultation on the Soros Plan. I will present this proposal to the Government, asking for their agreement. I ask everyone who appreciates the importance of Hungary’s independence, sovereignty, security, national culture and Christian roots to take part in this national consultation.
I wish us all a successful parliamentary session.