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Nov 15, 2017

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Speech at the 16th Plenary Session of the Hungarian Standing Conference

10 November 2017, Budapest

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to all of you. Welcome to Hungarians from beyond the borders, and to those who live here.

Let me briefly recall that in 2010, when the Hungarian Standing Conference was reconvened after a six-year break, we invited each other – and I invited you – to write the books of the Hungarians, I spoke about three books: of actions, of words and of achievements. Well, looking back over the past seven years, we’ve managed to add some truly important chapters to these three books; and let’s hope that, if everything continues to go as well as it is going today, we’ll be able to write still more new chapters.

Let me remind you that the Hungarian Standing Conference is a special forum within the sphere of public life in Hungary; and it is not only special, but also extremely valuable. There are only a few fora in which Hungary’s governing and opposition parties and important foreign political organisations can sit down together to talk and think about the future. I think this is something we should value. I especially appreciate the opposition’s efforts to contribute to the establishment of a national consensus after 2010. The debates which ignite from time to time tend to erase from our memory how much worse conditions were before 2010 – when one saw lack of agreement, and even division, on matters fundamental to the nation. Today there isn’t full agreement, but on important matters there is consensus. This is important to highlight. There is consensus on the matter of nationality; in my opinion there is consensus on the matter of voting rights; and there is also consensus concerning the aspirations for autonomy of Hungarians beyond the borders. This, I think, is a great achievement. If we look back over the past thirty years, on these matters there have only been a few periods of national agreement. So for this I express my sincere thanks to both the governing and opposition parties.

Before beginning the main part of my speech, I would like to thank you Hungarians from beyond the borders for persevering and standing by Hungary through thick and thin over the past seven years. At times you have had to make very hard decisions, but these decisions were always backed up by the desire and the responsibility to build a united community which stands up for each of its parts and members. I cannot recall a single decision made in the past seven years in which Hungarians beyond the borders put their own interests ahead of the interests of the whole nation. This is another thing worth talking about; not to praise ourselves, but to set as an example to ourselves and our descendants of what it means to think in the context of nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On these occasions I usually brief you on Hungary’s current situation. Today I will try to do this in a way which bears as little resemblance as possible to debates in the Hungarian parliament; and so here I shall not put the opposition parties in a situation in which we argue in front of you about our different views on the state of the country. Nevertheless, we should briefly summarise where Hungary is today, so that we can then talk realistically about what we can undertake in the future. I would like to repeat what I said yesterday at the meeting of the Diaspora Council: that this is a time when Hungary – and I’m not talking about the Government, but the whole of the country – needs to be truly modest, as now it has achievements to be modest about. We have managed to achieve significant results that anyone in Hungary can be proud of, regardless of party membership, party affiliation or political views. This is because these results have not been achieved by this party or that party, or by the Government – although a good government is always a useful thing: in the end, they’ve been achieved by the Hungarian people. So, in short, I can say that Hungary has managed to pull itself together, has managed to stand on its own feet, is not living on someone else’s money and is not willing to live on someone else’s money. We have approved economic strategies that strengthen this independence and enable us to use our own strength and do our own work. I recently made a calculation based on a study by the Hungarian National Bank: over the past seven years we’ve adopted fifty reforms – or moves towards reform – that have helped to put the Hungarian economy on a new trajectory.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the past seven years not only have great changes swept through Hungary – and I’ll come back to this later – but there have also been changes around us; and such changes have radically affected the lives of Hungarians beyond the borders. One major change around us is that the European Union was also shaken by several political crises after the economic crisis of 2008–2009 – wrongly called “the world financial crisis” by the Europeans, as a way of shifting the blame, even though in fact it was a solely European financial crisis. Such examples are rare. But the consequences of these two waves of crisis combined to create an extremely difficult situation in which we needed to promote Hungary’s national interests. It’s easy to see that we can more easily promote our interests in a consolidated and well-functioning framework, than in the chaotic and crisis-stricken international environment of recent years. In this environment we have needed to gain acceptance for the fact that, after the economic and financial crisis, Hungary sought to rebuild its economy and social system not by using methods which had been tried internationally and proven to have failed, but by using a special Hungarian model. If we look back, we can see that years of our lives have been spent on debating whether there are national models, national ways in the European Union, and if a Hungarian path could be taken. We have spent years defending our ideas on this. I think that the results prove that we have done quite a good job. We have defended the key idea – first by declaration, which in politics sometimes counts as an action, and then by actively defending it – that national interests come first, even in the European Union; and in Hungary’s case this meant that Hungary’s interest came first. To formulate and ratify this we created a new constitution – the Fundamental Law – in which we gave answers to the questions of who we are, what we want to do, where we come from, where we are heading, and what values we shall not surrender. I can say that we have patched together the scattered fragments of the nation’s fabric.

Yesterday, at the Diaspora Council, Zsolt Semjén asked me to be more dramatic in announcing that we have reached the point at which we have one million new Hungarian citizens. But in fact he is much better at such things than I am, so I would not want to enter that contest. I cannot win a Zsolt Semjén impersonators’ contest, and so I would just like to quietly and calmly inform you that we now have more than one million new Hungarian citizens. I don’t think that we should light celebration bonfires just yet, as there are still plenty of opportunities ahead of us here, in the Carpathian Basin. We are still far from having exhausted the opportunities for reorganising the entire Hungarian community. So if we look at it in terms of potential, we are somewhere halfway down the road. Therefore I would like to remind you – and I think it’s permissible for a prime minister to remind you – that the success which we have achieved means that we have even more work ahead of us. Past successes and this one prove that the work we have done has been meaningful. So I ask everyone to work even harder to help all Hungarians who would also like to become a part of our community in terms of public law to find their way towards this. Anyway, today we can safely say that Hungary is a medium-sized European state. But one could easily shrug one’s shoulders at this, and ask why I’m saying this now: what else has it been up to now, if not a medium-sized European state? And if we look at its area and population this is true; but a medium-sized state not only has geographical dimensions and a population, but also an independent will and room for manoeuvre. And earlier we did not have an independent will and room for manoeuvre – especially not to the extent to be expected of a medium-sized European state. In this respect it is our shared achievement that over the past seven years we’ve managed to create for Hungary the room for manoeuvre necessary and appropriate for the existence of a medium-sized European state. I would like to mention here, in front of you all, our success in managing to establish a work-based society to replace a welfare benefit-based society. In Hungary there have also been fierce philosophical debates over whether full employment can be realised – and, if so, whether or not it is good. Some liberal opinions claim that this isn’t necessarily a good thing. In the end, we managed to reach agreement on full employment being a goal that we can all commit to, and that it is an achievement that we are now close to.

As I also said yesterday, in politics we never have the choice between a problem-free world and a world of problems, as the essence of politics is that there are always problems: there are always difficulties and problems to manage and solve. Politics can only choose between good and bad problems, and, if it can do so, even that is a privileged moment – or rather a moment of grace. A bad problem is when people have no work; and a good problem is when we are short of labour, and the obstacle to economic growth is a lack of workers. It’s not an easier problem, but one of a different nature; and Hungary has passed from an era of bad problems to an era of good problems.

In terms of the nation’s room for manoeuvre, I think it’s important to refer to the three key sectors without which there is no sovereignty in a modern economy. In the energy, media and banking sectors we have aimed for national ownership not only of assets but of complete strategic sectors, and in these sectors we have managed to increase Hungarian ownership to more than fifty per cent. At the beginning of the twenty-first century these three sectors – banking, energy and the media – are the heavy artillery in international relations. For this reason, I consider this success to be of special value. I must also mention that our joint efforts have enabled us to strengthen public security and protect our borders; and we can also proudly declare – with due modesty – that today Hungary is one of the safest countries in Europe. In the past couple of days the Chamber of Agriculture has held elections. Obviously this has attracted less attention from abroad or from Hungarians beyond the borders, but it marks a very important moment in the history of Hungarian agriculture. Recently we have brought to a conclusion one hundred years of debate, by determining the proportion of small and medium-sized agricultural holdings relative to large-scale holdings. In the process we have established the location, purpose and legitimacy of each. And these latest elections have shown that those who earn a living from agriculture agree with this approach. They have accepted a programme which governments in the future will only need to implement. I’d also like to point out that the mother country will also be strengthened by the reindustrialisation programme that has been launched; the State Secretary overseeing this reindustrialisation programme is also here with us today. Now the Czech Republic, Germany and Hungary are in competition with one another to determine whose industrial output will be highest as a percentage of GDP. According to earlier schools of thought, it is better if this percentage is as low as possible, and the share of the service sector is as high as possible. But the wind has now changed. Today we think differently. Today Europe approves of a higher rate of industrial production related to GDP; and competing with the Germans and the Czechs for the top spot is not something to be underestimated. Industrial production currently amounts to over twenty per cent of GDP, and the State Secretary has been given no less a task than to increase this to thirty per cent. Here I’d also like to mention something which is important in foreign policy terms and our policy for Hungarians beyond the borders – namely that in Hungary now the effects of economic performance are not only seen in the macroeconomic figures, but also felt in everyday life. They are mainly felt in wage increases and the preservation of pensions – and, indeed, in the increase of the latter.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Of course people are right to say that we are capable of even more. What today we can call an achievement seems to be impressive only when compared with our past accomplishments. But we should not belittle it: it is also an accomplishment, and it is also an achievement. There is no doubt that Hungary is capable of even more, and certainly has more potential than that which we are exploiting today. That, however, is a matter to be dealt with after the next election. I am convinced that Hungarian economic policy will have to be recalibrated to enable us to maintain our competitiveness and the pace at which we narrow the gap with more developed economies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

All these instances deserve mention because they’ve provided the basis for the measures which have enabled us to construct our foreign policy affecting Hungarians beyond the borders. I’d like to make it clear to everyone that without a strong mother country, no effective, successful, lasting and beneficial foreign policy affecting Hungarians abroad can be operated. Thus, if the mother country is not good and strong, it cannot fulfil the obligations incumbent on all mothers and mother countries in relation to their children and citizens. We have been able to achieve the things I will go on to talk about because the mother country has strengthened. We have established an education network across the whole of the Carpathian Basin. We were taught in school – and I hope that this is still taught in Hungarian schools – that every nation grows in knowledge through its own language. Consequently, it is vitally important that there is a uniform education system in the Carpathian Basin which provides an institutional framework from pre-school to university, and which can cultivate the use of our mother tongue. We have also set up intellectual strongholds in the Carpathian Basin, and I believe that, as a result of our efforts, today we are spiritually closer to our neighbours than we have ever been. A culture of cooperation between political parties and the various feuding stakeholders must also be established outside Hungary. This is a fine mission within the borders of Hungary, but in my opinion it is also necessary across the whole of Central Europe. We have a difficult, burdensome history. In the Carpathian Basin it is not easy to establish a culture focused on cooperation, but I think that in recent years we’ve made significant progress towards that end.

I think that in the Carpathian Basin, and indeed across the Central European region, the notion has strengthened – or at least become viable, though not dominant – that the peoples of Central Europe each have an interest in the strength of us all, and that we no longer benefit from the weakness of other Central European countries outside our own. This is a remarkable achievement. At first this may seem to be a natural, simple sentence; but, considering the history of Hungary and Central Europe, it is in fact a statement of gravity and importance. I am convinced that today the Romanians do not think that they would benefit from Hungary being a weak state, and I don’t think that the Serbians or the Slovakians think that way either. And we shouldn’t think that our interests would be served by chaos and weakness in Serbia, Romania or Slovakia. On the contrary, Hungary’s national interest is served by a strong Serbia, a strong Romania, a strong Ukraine, a strong Slovakia and a strong Croatia, with whom Hungary – also as a strong country – can establish fruitful cooperation and relations. So the peoples of Central Europe must learn and appreciate that we either all rise together and all become successful together, or we all fail. This is a rule of life in the twenty-first century that we should all recognise and acknowledge. I think it is an achievement that, in general, the Hungarian intellectual mainstream shaping Hungarian foreign policy is of the same opinion: they want to support Central European cooperation, and in such cooperation they see an alliance of strong and stable states.

This is one of the reasons that neighbouring countries have not been hostile to Hungary’s cross-border economic development programmes: Serbia was not hostile to the Hungarian economic development programme; after making some well-founded technical reservations that we accepted, Slovakia was also receptive to it; and, until recently, Ukraine has actively encouraged the economic development programme for the Transcarpathian region; we’ve never had any problems with Croatia; and we’ve always been able to find common ground with Romania. I think the fact that the neighbouring countries have accepted and embraced Hungary’s cross-border economic development programmes and have all supported them – albeit to different degrees, depending on their temperament – is a sign that Hungary is not alone in recognising the Central European concept and the necessity for cooperation. The same is also true for the other Central European nations. This doesn’t mean that we have achieved ultimate peace, or that we have no conflicts or arguments, but there is a difference in how the relevant parties approach such arguments or conflicts. This is a great achievement. It is a remarkable success, and it offers realistic hope for the development of Central Europe. Assessing the past seven years, I think that Central Europe has found its own voice. It is clear that, although we are not yet speaking the same language and the prospects for that are still very distant, the Central European peoples share a common lexicon. They are good at using this in their dealings with one another, and also within the European Union. The vanguard in this approach is the V4 [Visegrád 4] group, whose member states have established close cooperation, and strongly represent policy rooted in the Central European nations’ common destiny within the European Union.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In this context, it’s important to point out that in 2015, when the first waves of illegal migration hit Europe, we were told – particularly in Brussels – that this process could not be stopped. I think it’s a considerable national achievement that the Hungarians have proved that it can be stopped. I must express my special thanks to the Hungarians of Vojvodina, for they were the ones most affected by this crisis. They were not only affected physically – as all the migrant flow went through their region – but also in the sense that we needed to build a fence on a border where we did not really want to have one, as Hungarian communities also live on the other side of that border. I think it was an important achievement for the Hungarians of Vojvodina to have understood and accepted this, and also helped to ensure that it was supported by the Serbian government. For this I sincerely thank President Pásztor. With such a fragmented nation, it is not easy to build fences and stop waves of migrants; but if we do not want to exchange our way of life for a different one, and want to keep what we have, then such steps will need to be taken. We need to recognise that a new fault line now runs across Europe. I am not saying that the continent will be divided, as perhaps such a division can still be avoided. But there are countries which have accepted that they have become immigrant countries; and indeed they have not just accepted this, but are using their own resources to promote and support it. They are not simply letting immigrants enter their countries, but are actually transporting them in. And then there are countries like Hungary, or other countries in the Central European region, that have no intention of becoming immigrant countries, but want to keep their traditions, cultures and intellectual, moral, philosophical and cultural foundations. We shall have no part of the multiculturalism and parallel societies that in our view have proven to be unworkable. We do not doubt that somewhere these may work well, but knowing ourselves and these phenomena, we can assert that neither multiculturalism nor the system of parallel societies can function in Central Europe and Hungary. Firstly, no one can force us to participate in a social experiment that we want no part in; and secondly, we think that such an experiment is doomed to failure.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

From this it also follows that when Hungary faces its most important challenge, of demographic decline – and this is not only a challenge to today’s state, but to the entire Hungarian national community – then we must set it in opposition to questions of immigration policy. We have to answer the question of what we, as representatives of a nation in demographic decline, intend to do to prevent our nation’s population diminishing, and prevent a resultant dramatic loss of strength and a slide in economic performance to a level from which it will be impossible to recover. Obviously, this is only possible by halting demographic decline. In Western Europe a very simple mathematical answer is given to this question: to offset the decrease, the same number of people need to be transported from elsewhere into their countries as the number of people lost through natural population decline. They intend to counteract demographic decline with immigration policy. Hungary has taken another path: we seek to answer this question by expressly reinforcing family policy. I must agree with those who have doubts, and who say that there is no proof that this can succeed. We have never tried it, and there is only a slim chance that we can make it work. But if we don’t give it a chance, it can never succeed. And as we would rather see more Hungarian children and more Hungarian families than more immigrants, strengthening our family policy is the right thing to do. In Hungary, 2018 will be the year of Hungarian families, and I have formerly announced – the Hungarian government has announced – that it will also be the year of families among Hungarians beyond the borders. So 2018 will also be the year of Hungarian families beyond the borders. Let us think together, let us try initiatives together, let us make plans together about how demographic decline can be arrested and halted through strong family policy – not only in Hungary, but across the entire Carpathian Basin. Nations are different, and obviously within these nations of distinct characters the family occupies distinctly different positions. Hungarians are a people, a nation, with the family at the heart of its way of thinking; and family is also at the heart of how we see our lives. Indeed, for the Hungarian community – for a nation as solitary as we are in terms of national characteristics, culture and language – our children and our families are the fundamental basis for demographic increase, and are also our spiritual, intellectual and material resources; only from them can we expect to survive and strengthen. Without strong families there can be no strong Hungarian community, and there can be no strong Hungarian nation. Therefore I hope that in 2018 there will be proposals, solutions and plans that will enable us to arrest demographic decline using our own resources. The Deputy Prime Minister has already mentioned the fact that we are making efforts to extend the system of certain family support institutions, benefits and financial aid across our state borders, and already there are some encouraging examples. In this regard I think it is right to be enthusiastic: no such thing has existed until now, and this is a breakthrough. But we must also acknowledge that these are still actions of symbolic significance, and in the Carpathian Basin a weightier family policy system will need to be set up. Nevertheless, I think the first steps point in the right direction, and these clearly express the intentions of the Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin, and the Hungarian government.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If I was asked to give a title to the chapter or chapters of the seven or eight years we are now reaching the end of, then I would say that these years have been about uniting the nation; and on the front page of the chapters to come I would write something like “Nation Building”. Recently I had the opportunity to visit Kolozsvár/Cluj-Napoca – and I thank the DAHR [Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania] for the valuable talks we had there. While visiting that city as part of the commemoration of the Reformation, I delivered a speech in which, on behalf of the Hungarian government, I said that in the Carpathian Basin the future will be written in Hungarian. This is a sentence which has meaning. In public discourse something like this does not always seize one’s attention, but I would like to underline that this isn’t just a passing rhetorical flourish, but a sentence expressing the Government’s intentions: that in the Carpathian Basin the future will be written in Hungarian. First, I feel it is important that this phrase expresses the fact that we think there is a future, and it is worth thinking about the future. Here, among Hungarians who live beyond the borders, it may seem logical – indeed self-evident – but within European culture today’s philosophy of life of has grown so strong that emphasis, meaning and importance attaches to the fact that our community wants to think not simply about today and the quality of life achievable today, but also about the future in the long term. And, after thoroughly considering this future, ours can only be a Hungarian future. The second meaning of this short sentence is that it focuses on the Carpathian Basin, and it sees the Carpathian Basin as the scene for the fulfilment of the Hungarian nation and Hungarian culture. So, we would like to leave behind – I certainly would – that period when our policy on Hungarian communities abroad was exclusively defensive. That is also something important for the future. The minority elements of a nation in a vulnerable situation are regularly subjected to attacks, and to moves and aims against which they must defend themselves. Defence has always been – and should remain – a part of our survival instincts. I would like policy on Hungarian communities in the Carpathian Basin to not only be about defence, but, in a spirit of cooperation, to repeatedly produce thoughts, values and economic strength for the benefit of the whole Hungarian community and the whole of Central Europe. So I think we should not simply defend our rights and communities, but we should also contribute to the thoughts, ideas and plans for the future of the Carpathian Basin in accordance with our own Hungarian logic, mentality and interests

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am convinced that, by interconnecting the elements of the Hungarian nation, we will have a significant influence on the future of the Carpathian Basin. It is already clear that, as I previously mentioned, our cooperation with our neighbouring countries – and, through the V4 group, with non-neighbouring Central European nations – is on the right track, and is strengthening. But it goes further than that. And here again – with self-confidence, but also modesty and consideration of our relative strength – we have to say that in the Carpathian Basin anyone can see that those who cooperate with the Hungarians also benefit themselves. They are not only doing the right thing philosophically or morally, but they are themselves gaining benefits. When the Serbians cooperate with the Hungarians, they benefit from the cooperation: Prime Minister Vučić has publicly confirmed this several times. The same is true for Croatia. Although currently there are conflicts in the relationship between our two countries, Croatia also realises that if it cooperates with the Hungarians it gains benefits. For years we have welcomed the process taking place in Slovakia, which has made it clear to the Slovakian government that cooperation with Hungary also benefits Slovakia. As I mentioned earlier, for a long time this has also been clear in Ukraine. So we are not only talking about cooperation, but about the fact that those in the Carpathian Basin and in Central Europe who cooperate with the Hungarians gain benefits for themselves. Accordingly, we not only take a stand on protecting our rights, but we also offer a promising shared future to the countries and citizens of Central Europe.

And now we have reached the point at which I should talk about Ukraine in more detail. I am glad that President Breznovics is also here today, and at this event I would like to clarify and record the key starting-points of our relationship with Ukraine – as in the months to come it will be necessary to act in unison in this matter. I must say that so far we have been doing the right things: although we’ve acted instinctively, we’ve taken the right action. On this matter the entire Hungarian national community – including those parts of the Hungarian nation living beyond the borders, and political parties in Hungary – have expressed the same thoughts. All I would like to make clear is that Ukraine wants to move towards the community of the European Union; it intends to accede to it, but today the possibility of that seems to be rather limited. Anyway, it would like to move towards the EU, and so it expects something from the community of the European Union. And the truth is that it can only expect something from the European Union and from us if it accepts certain basic norms. And by this I don’t mean minor details, but fundamental principles. If it doesn’t accept such norms and principles, the cooperation will be of a different quality. Of course there will be cooperation between the EU and Ukraine, but it will be of a different quality than the one both parties would like to reach: that of Ukraine getting closer to the European Union. In such a case a rather arm’s-length relationship would be established, obviously requiring certain cooperation, but we would like Ukraine and the European Union to enjoy close cooperation. For this, however, Ukraine needs to accept European norms: not in many areas, but in some fundamental areas. And among these norms, one of special importance is the rule that the level of rights already granted to a minority may not be reduced. This is the foundation of the European Union; if the European Union is a community of values, which I believe it is, then in addition to the rule of law and democracy, minority policy should be among these fundamental areas. And a guiding principle for this which is clearly laid down in the EU documents is that a level of rights already granted may not be reduced. So we would not accept any debate about whether or not the new Ukrainian regulations satisfy any existing or hypothetical European regulation. For us such a debate is irrelevant, because the European Union has not developed standards which offer a set of objective criteria. We have to enforce the rule and defend the basic principle that if a certain level of rights has already been granted to minorities, there can be no turning back. There can be no turning back in the protection of human rights. This is a fundamental rule in the European Union, and we ask our Ukrainian friends to recognise it. The question is not whether they adopted a bad law – that is something they will argue about at home, also with the involvement of the Hungarian communities. In this regard the Hungarian government does not intend to take a stand, because that’s something to be done by the Transcarpathian Hungarians. The only thing we’re taking a stand on is that Ukraine may not move towards the European Union while it is curtailing the rights of its minorities. That is impossible. It not only infringes the rights of Hungarian minorities, but it also significantly affects the rights of the minorities of several EU and non-EU Member States. Although naturally we support Ukraine, it’s important to make it clear that in all matters adversely affecting the Hungarian communities or the minority groups living in Ukraine, we would, if needed, take issue with – or even take a stand against – the Ukrainian government. Our Ukrainian friends must understand that our cooperation has cultural preconditions, and we respectfully request that they observe those preconditions. And I would like to assure the Transcarpathian Hungarians that no matter what direction the wind may blow in, the Hungarian government shall not surrender its position: we shall keep to it. We shall strongly represent our position – not only here and not only in Kiev, but also in the European Union. If you have been following the recent diplomatic developments – including in NATO and the European Union – you will have seen the signs of principled Hungarian diplomatic actions.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Finally, I would like to speak about the third meaning of the sentence “in the Carpathian Basin the future will be written in Hungarian”. This also implies that we will succeed, because we all know that “history is written by the victors”. So, if we will write history and write it in Hungarian, this means that in the period ahead we will succeed. And, based on what I have just said, our prospects are good.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is an ongoing debate, and perhaps the Hungarian government is right to express a view on it: this is the issue of voting rights. I have already mentioned that in Hungary a consensus had already been reached on the voting rights of Hungarians beyond the borders. On this there now seems to be a crack; fortunately it is only a hairline crack, but still this question has come to the surface. I would like to point out that in my opinion, from the point of view of the Hungarians – and now I’m looking at the issue from the point of view of the Hungarians living in Hungary – the settlement of this current situation is just. It is right and just. It correctly reflects reality: that we all belong to one nation, but we are in different situations. The situation of Hungarians in the mother country is different to that of Hungarians beyond the borders. This is why we chose this special extension of voting rights, and – as I understand it – this is why the left-wing parties were able to support it. In Hungarian elections, Hungarians in Hungary can vote on two platforms, while Hungarians beyond the borders can only vote on one; this clearly expresses that we belong to the same community, but our situations are not identical. For this reason, I think this arrangement is right, just and morally sound. We do not intend to amend it, and whoever challenges it can expect their demand for its amendment to be rejected.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Finally, I would like to encourage all of you to have your names entered on the electoral register, otherwise you won’t be able to vote in the Hungarian election next year. I ask the political leaders of Hungarians beyond the borders to encourage the members of their communities to register to vote.

In conclusion, I shall fulfil my obligation to request your full support for the DAHR in its efforts to make a success of the European initiative called “Minority SafePack”. Under this initiative, signatures are being collected in relation to the issue of autochthonous European minorities; and according to EU regulations, if one million signatures are collected from a sufficient number of countries, the EU will have to deal with this matter. I think that this is important. This is not an issue of political parties: this is an issue of nations. There is no point in turning this into an initiative organised by any political party, but it is worth turning it into a national initiative. I ask the Hungarian opposition parties, the Hungarian parties beyond the borders, and representatives of the media to support this well-intentioned and justified initiative launched by Hungarians beyond the borders.

Thank you for the cooperation you have given over the past year, and thank you for your attention today.