Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the 28th congress of Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union
29 September 2019, Budapest
Honourable Congress, Dear Friends, Honourable Mayor of Budapest,
Thank you for placing your trust in me again. I am honoured. You have elected me as president of the country’s largest and strongest party, and the only party able to form a government. If we include our allies among our number – and I believe we should – we are also Hungary’s oldest political community, with the deepest traditions and the strongest mindset. In light of this, the least I can say is that this is an honour. And I cannot deny that it is also touching. For men like me – from a village background and accustomed to the world of street fights – emotion tends to be a sign of weakness, characteristic of women or children. But I’d like you to know that I am deeply touched – and at times moved even more intensely – by the love I’ve received from you over the past decades. Even if it doesn’t often show, and even if I joke about it at times, please believe me when I say that, in my heart, the love I receive from each of you does not go unrequited.
We are brothers-in-arms, and even without words we know that we are of a kind. The most important thing is fellowship. Both as a political party and as allies, this determines our fate. Anyone can be loyal to someone who is right. It’s easy to be loyal to me, too, if I’m right. Fellowship, however, is more than that: it goes far beyond that. Fellowship means that I am loyal to you even when you’re wrong, and I can also count on you when I’ve make a mistake. And, My Friends, is there a single one of us that hasn’t made a mistake in the past thirty years? But we’ve stood together, we’ve closed ranks, we’ve stood shoulder to shoulder, we’ve been honest with one another, and in the end we’ve overcome every difficulty. This is why we are up, and this is why the liberal left – whose members continually betray one another – is down. This is what Ronald Reagan called “the Eleventh Commandment”. Yes, in politics we need an eleventh commandment: it commands us not to speak ill of any fellow Fidesz member. We must keep to this. And as our domestic opponents fall by the wayside, and as increasingly we find ourselves without any serious adversaries, this eleventh commandment becomes ever more important. More and more it is the hoops of fellowship that hold together the staves of our community, and less and less the attacks of our opponents.
Why have I accepted this office? Why have I accepted it again, when it’s clear that I’m not getting any younger? Someone like me – in the second half of their life – is well advised to manage their remaining years wisely, because there are so many people who have not shared as much of my time as they should have had; and so I’ve not shared as much of their time as I should have had. And with the welcome growth in the number of my grandchildren, I believe that this will be increasingly true. But this is also the case with you, in your lives: you know what I’m talking about, and so tonight you should not forget to thank your wives or your husbands and your children for the support they give you in your work. I myself should do so more frequently. Thank you, Ani. Furthermore, the generational renewal of Fidesz is also making good progress. Young people are coming through at a good rate – as supporters, local councillors, mayors, or indeed ministers. We are a true people’s party. A genuine people’s party can be identified by the fact that its pace of life is the same as the ordinary, everyday pace of life; and this is exactly true of our party. We have here with us our oldest delegate, Nándor Hidvégi from Mernye, who is 86. God bless him. Our youngest delegate, Dominik Brenner, is 19 and from Budapest’s 15th district. Go for it, Dominik! In our government we have ministers aged 38 to 40 working alongside ministers aged 70. Our future is guaranteed for many decades: our experience is accumulating, and we’re also passing it on to one another. The well-ordered life of our community is provided by a balance of common sense, insight and ambitions. I believe that as President my most important task is to shape and maintain that balance. I believe that it is also my task to assist in the ascendance of our virtues: to promote wisdom against ignorance, courage against doubt, justice against injustice, moderation against excess.
We need a wise, brave, just and moderate community, because – by their very nature – sometimes the responsibility and power that we bear and exercise wear people down and corrode relationships. And at times like this we must quickly find our way back not only to our political balance, but also to our moral balance. It’s perhaps no exaggeration to say that to date my leadership of Fidesz has enabled us to achieve this time and again; and, despite the testing work of governance, I promise you that I will not neglect this in the future either. I will fulfil my duties as both Party President and Prime Minister.
In summary, today Fidesz is in a state of good order – perhaps unusually so for the world of politics. We’re doing our job on the basis of a clear programme. Our opponents at home are digging themselves into an ever deeper hole. A growing number of foreign politicians, parties – even countries – and their teams are skulking away in retreat from under the ramparts of Buda Castle, with long faces and bandaged, bloody heads.
In truth we could now have easily found someone else to wear the mantle, with relatively little risk. If we’d wanted to, we could have changed to something else. I had good reason not to propose such a thing. You know that in our community, in Fidesz, the rule of thumb is that if someone wants a position very badly, if it’s clear that they truly crave it, then they will never get it. They cannot get it, because craving for a position can only lead to failure: political and professional failure – and, above all, moral failure. Believe me, I’ve seen that too many times. Therefore in Fidesz an important rule – perhaps the most important rule – is that in our community what is distributed is work: not positions – and, above all, not power. To tell you the truth, I’m very happy that you have nominated and elected me for this job. Forthrightly, but with due modesty, I have to tell you that I am happy, because the best is still ahead of us: what has happened so far is not to be sneezed at, but the truly great things are yet to come. There is no way I would want to be left out of that.
We are a governing party. We must ask ourselves this question: What have we accomplished so far? On a certain spiritual level, we can sum up the path we have travelled so far by saying that, through the work of thirty years, we have created a new and authentic model of state theory – one that has been tested in real life, and found to have worked. We have created a Christian democratic state: a Central European and Hungarian Christian democratic state. Today the Hungarian state rests on the foundations not of liberal democracy, but of Christian democracy. Democracy yes, liberalism no. This is our programme. Looking back, one can clearly see that we have reached this position in two steps, with two political transformations. With the first political transformation we put an end to the Soviet world: Soviet flags, communist flags down; flags of freedom up. This was the first, liberating political transformation: the soaring, great first love affair. And then came the struggle for determination of the future between Fidesz and the socialists – who repeatedly resurrected, or, rather, revived. Twenty chaotic years. And finally, the nightmare governance of the socialists, economic collapse, rebellion, and the drift towards physical violence and anarchy. To this day I cannot comprehend how the socialists fail to understand that, for a second time since 1990, they escaped oblivion by the skin of their teeth. Many wanted it to be otherwise. How can they not see that we alone were the ones who chose constitutional revolution over a street revolution? If they appreciated that, they would surely be more modest and restrained. Then in 2010 we heeded the advice of József Antall: “It would have been good to carry out a revolution!” Well, we did, we carried out a revolution: a constitutional revolution with a two-thirds majority; a second political transformation. After the first burning love affair, this was a well-considered marriage.
The direction of the second political transformation – the political transformation of 2010 – has not been backwards, it has not been a reversal, and it has not been a political counter-transformation. The direction of the second political transformation is forward: it adds to the first one and completes the first one; in fact it gives meaning to the first political transformation. It does this just as marriage gives meaning to love. This is what is made permanent in the provisions of our Constitution: the Fundamental Law of Hungary, which is also one of the foremost achievements in the history of Fidesz, fittingly adopted at Easter 2011. The hero of the constitutional battles we fought at that time was the President that we gave Hungary: President Pál Schmitt – who, in the annals of our history, will always have a page dedicated solely to him. Long live the President! Vivat, vivat, vivat! If the first political transformation was a liberal one, the second was a national transformation, as thus we reinstated our national sovereignty and supported it with constitutional buttresses. Remember what a courageous decision it was, and the continuous barrage we had to withstand. We had to cross the bridge, and that we did when the electorate gave us our first two-thirds constitutional mandate. And we can also call this second political transformation a Christian transformation, because, instead of liberal freedom, we configured it in the spirit of Christian freedom. In politics Christian freedom is not something abstract. It is very specific, understandable and tangible: patriots instead of citizens of the world; love of country instead of internationalism; marriage and family instead of popularising same-sex relationships; protecting our children instead of drug liberalisation; Hungarian children instead of immigrants; Christian culture instead of a multicultural confusion; order and security instead of violence and terrorism; unification of the nation instead of the 5 December  betrayal of the nation. This is Christian freedom. In Hungary today all this is seen as self-evident – and is almost taken for granted.
We know our own kind well. Hungarians tend to get used to good things quickly, and are reluctant to remember what was bad. This may be why those who have attacked them are forgiven sooner and more thoroughly than they should be. And Hungarians are surprised if, instead of appreciation for their generosity, they receive ever more arrows in their backs or sword strokes in their sides. This is why the 5 December traitors of the nation were not forced from the scene after 1990, and this is why they are still on the political stage. They are the ones who in 2006 orchestrated mounted police charges; those who left Fidesz Member of Parliament Máriusz Révész beaten and bloodied; those who drove the country to economic collapse; those who lured people into the trap of foreign currency debt. They have no idea how lucky they are with the Hungarian people. It is easy, Dear Friends, to become accustomed to order and safety, but we responsible political leaders must remember where we came from, and how far we have travelled. How can we see this? I’ve been leafing through some editions of Népszabadság from 2009. It was a newspaper, you know. What was written in this socialist newspaper, which supported the government back then? I’ll just quote some headlines: “Police officers beaten every day”; “Unemployment almost 10 per cent again”; “Industry in decline, household electricity bills on the rise”; “The Hungarian Guard on the march again in Kiskunlacháza”; “Possible funding cuts in provision for children’s meals”; “Housing allowances to be cut”. And I also found an interview in which the grande dame censor of the MSZP [Hungarian Socialist Party] made a dynamic statement about the lifestyle revolution under way in the country. Bravo.
Street violence and economic austerity measures. This was our life under socialist-liberal governance in Hungary. It was simply not worthy of us Hungarians. It was unworthy of us, a people with a 1,000-year-old state, a wonderful culture, world-famous inventions, ancient farming traditions, a substantial industrial and financial culture, and a people which to this day continues to produce generation upon generation of world-class talent.
We have quickly grown accustomed to the order and stable conditions under which we live today. In 2010, however, state debt was over 85 per cent – most of it in foreign hands. We had the proconsuls from the EU and the IMF on our backs. Today our debt is under 70 per cent, four fifths of it is in Hungarian hands, and so we’re paying interest to Hungarian families. We sent the proconsuls packing, and restored our economic independence. Today there are 850,000 more Hungarians in work than there were in 2010. Together with the Czechs, our performance is the best in Europe. The minimum wage has doubled, while average earnings have increased by 50 per cent. Our tax regime is widely praised throughout Europe, and the Family Protection Action Plan is steaming ahead. One million children receive free schoolbooks. We have preserved the value of the money entrusted to us by senior citizens, and have even increased it. Senior citizens are also able to share in the economy’s improved performance: this year there will be another pension supplement and pension premium. We are a governing party, so I have to tell you that we have refurbished seventy-seven hospitals, fifty-four surgeries and 104 ambulance stations. We have put eight hundred new ambulances into service. Doctors’ salaries have increased by 82 per cent, and in 2022 healthcare professionals will earn more than double what their wages were in 2016. We have reacquired most of our strategic public utilities. The majority of the media, the banking sector and the energy industry are again in Hungarian ownership. In climate protection we are ahead of many countries that like to see themselves as climate warriors. In other words, we Hungarians stand prepared for the challenges of the next decade.
This is all very well, and also true, but the truly great things are set to happen in the decade ahead. This is what I would like to say a few words about. First of all, we will once and for all leave poverty behind. We are not exactly the EU’s darlings, but in its report on Hungary it says that since 2010 more than one million people in our country have managed to escape poverty. But for me this is still unacceptable. And I know that it is for you, too. We are the ones who have always refused to believe that poverty could not be conquered. I advise that now too we should remain firm on this. We commit to the goal of full employment. Everyone will have a home. There will be crèches, nursery schools, schools, daily meals and school textbooks for every child. There will be support for poorer young people, and everyone will be able to live their later years in dignity. We will be the party that can say that it has eliminated poverty in Hungary. Another great task for the decade ahead, Dear Friends, will be to improve the situation of Hungary’s Roma population. We must not shrink from this task. Many have failed in the attempt, but we will not. The signs are promising. A great many things have changed in the life of the Roma, but you know that it is still a difficult one. Poverty has decreased among them also. The number of Roma people earning a living has doubled, and the number of unemployed Roma has been halved. We have doubled the number of young Roma people attending institutions of higher education. Behind these achievements, it is impossible to overlook the coordinated efforts of churches, civil society organisations and government agencies, and the results of many years of personal commitment from Zoltán Balog. Thank you, Minister.
Likewise, I would not want to be left out of the decisive phase in the battle being fought for Hungary’s sovereignty. Matters in Europe are now getting serious. We are no longer alone on the battlefield, struggling against impossible odds, but we are now a member of a powerful battalion: Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians – and, from tonight, the Austrians again, I hope. And it is only a question of time before Italian freedom also unfurls its flag again. And after these nations many more may join. We are the countries which want an alliance of European nations, not a Brussels empire. We are countries who do not want to transform ourselves into immigrant societies and mixed peoples, but who want to remain who we already are. We want to remain proud European nations rooted in Christian culture.
We are Member States of the EU, and we will remain so. We do not want to fight with the countries which have turned their own homelands into multicultural territories; after all, those are their homelands and their lives. But here this is our motherland, our homeland, our lives. No one other than the Hungarian people may decide about it. No one, ever.
Therefore agreement between the two halves of Europe must be reached, and we want such an agreement: just as Hungarian and Central European interests demand. Although the Western and Eastern halves of Europe are clearly pursuing different paths and different ideals, and honouring different virtues, even in such circumstances it is possible to develop forms of coexistence. We hope that the new President of the Commission will cope with this formidable task. She can count on us.
Naturally such coexistence comes with clear conditions. First of all, over there they must accept that we have the right to live our lives according to the laws of Christian freedom, and they must abandon open attacks on our states and governments. We are no longer prepared to finance from European money an army of Soros-type, fake non-governmental organisations that are hostile to us. We do not send such political activists to them, so they should take their own ones back home from Central Europe. Another condition for a compromise is that they must abandon their stealth attacks against the governments of Central European countries. They must not use such means to help their favoured political parties to power. One Ibiza is enough. The purpose of the European Union’s budget is not to finance teams and media outlets favoured by the liberals, immigrants who serve their purpose, or the training and deployment here of demonstration organisers and activists. We may not talk about it, but we can see that their stealth attacks are responsible for Macedonia’s continuous internal political instability, years of problems for Romania’s government, and the difficulties of some other countries in our region. Yes, the greatest threat to the peace, calm and economic achievements in the Central European region are posed by the international Left, the liberal networks of Washington and Brussels embedded in international politics. We are forced to face dozens of political tricks and fake news networks. If we truly want to keep Europe together, these practices must be abandoned. This is why it was right – indeed decent and just – for us to yank the chair of President of the Commission from under Timmermans, the Soros representative.
And of course we are not only making demands: we are fulfilling our obligations, and also helping when required. We are completing our economic tasks, we are strengthening the EU’s financial discipline, and through growth-generating work we are contributing to the growth of the European economy. We are also defending Europe’s external borders. In our countries not a single migrant will set foot in Europe’s territory. And if the Southerners are unable to manage the defence of Europe’s borders, at their request we will help them.
Honourable Prime Minister Conte, My Dear Friend Giuseppe,
If needed, we will be happy to take over the defence of certain sections of Italy’s state borders. And if you’re unable to manage – even though you let them in – we agree to help in the transportation of large numbers of migrants from Italy back to where they came from. You need only to say the word, and we are ready to take action.
I also believe that the decade ahead will be the decade of the Central European countries. This corner of Europe will regain the magical colours it possessed before communism. Individually each of us has a bright future, but together that future is even brighter. Our historic cities will once more be clad in their old glory. Following outstanding economic growth, we will also ascend to the higher altitudes of innovation, research and development; our universities will again occupy the prominent places they deserve on the map of Europe. We have no reason to be defeatist. Here in Hungary, Hungarian workers and Hungarian engineers operate – and even manage – the world’s most modern technologies and development centres. They all came from our oft-criticised schools and universities; yet they hold their own both here at home and anywhere in the world. Thank you for that. And in the coming decade, Honourable Congress, we will also link our economies together. Central European multinational corporations will appear on the map of Europe. We will interlink our road and railway networks. Our countries will be the rapidly growing envy of Europe.All this is quite aside from public security, from the sense of home provided by Christian culture, and from national pride which corrects our posture, straightens our backs and lifts all our heads. The Budapest to Belgrade rail link, the V4 rail network, Budapest’s Liget cultural quarter, and new bridges on the Danube. After Győr, Szentgotthárd, Esztergom and Kecskemét, Debrecen, too, will become a centre of the automotive industry. With [mayoral candidate] Attila Vári, Pécs can look forward to enormous opportunities. The cityscape of Miskolc will finally start to present an attractive face to the world, and Ákos Kriza’s efforts will come to fruition if he has a worthy successor who will cooperate with the Government. We are only waiting for the people of Szeged. We don’t understand why they want to be left out of development and growth, and we definitely cannot understand why they want to become a migrant city. Let us be under no illusions: we will again veto the migrant resettlement quotas – with this easy task mostly falling to me; at that point the proponents of immigration will seek to sign agreements with individual cities. And if it remains in the hands of the Left, Szeged will be the primary destination for resettlement. This is what the Mayor of Szeged so proudly told us to our faces, whilst linking arms with the leader of the German Socialists. If the people of Szeged truly want this, it would be easier for them to ask our friend Timmermans to stand as mayor.
Neither do I wish to hide my hope that Central Europe’s economic growth will also result in the strengthening of our political cooperation. We are rooting for our friend Mr. Morawiecki, we are rooting for Prime Minister Babiš, and we hope that Prime Minister Pellegrini will also lead his teams to success in the next election. I also see a time when the Romanians and the peoples of the Baltics and the Balkans will join the great march of Central Europe. And all this in the next ten years.
And as if all this were not enough for the decade ahead, we can also expect to witness a realignment of power in the world at large. Instead of the world order of the G7 countries, we already have the world of the G2: of the United States and China. We Europeans will have to find our place in this: we must stake our claim and define Europe’s zones of influence. Today President Macron – the leader of our opponents – is also talking about this. Earlier, of course, we were branded as lunatics and idiots when saying the same thing. Naturally this is a threat for weary countries that have lost their sense of mission. But for us – who are full of vitality, and who now want to call in the debt owed by history to the Hungarian people – this is not a threat, but an opportunity: an opportunity to reposition Central Europe, and within it the Carpathian Basin and Hungary. This is our very great chance. As you can see, we are on the threshold of an exciting decade. Thank you for not leaving me out of this – indeed, for putting me in charge of this complex offensive as your president.
Finally, let us also say a few words about the local elections being held in two weeks’ time. My Friends, since the last parliamentary election a few things have also occurred on the opposition side. First of all, one Gyurcsány has now become two Gyurcsánys: one is obstructing the interests of the Hungarian people here at home; the other is doing the same in Brussels. For a while it may have seemed as if the opposition had buried the hatchet after their internal battles. In the past two days, however, even a blind man could see that in fact they would rather bury one another. One could also say that the good Zugló Socialist [from Budapest’s 14th district] is virtually without equal. The humour of the Hungarian people has already foretold their election chances. The joke has it that Józsi, the Socialist candidate for mayor, goes to vote with his wife. That evening the results are announced: three votes for the MSZP [Socialist] candidate. So his wife says, “Józsi, you’ve got a mistress…”
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Many believe that the omens are good, but all the same I ask you to leave nothing to chance. Nothing has been given to us for free. We know the lesson, and we’ve paid the price. We will never be successful unless we work night and day, and fight tooth and nail. We must seek out everyone, we must contact everyone, and we must take everyone to the polls. You know the law: “The communists will all be there, so let’s be there, too!” We could score a great victory, and the truth is that you deserve that victory. You deserve it because you were the ones – locally, in your villages, towns and cities – who communicated to people a feeling of pride and courage of ambition. You can see that this feeling is uplifting. This is the most that a governing party can give the people. With a good decision you can raise a city, a sector of the economy, or one group of people or another. But if you give a country back its self-respect, and if you give back the power of spirit and imagination needed to set a goal, then you can raise everyone, an entire nation. And that is exactly what you have done. Be proud of that, and never forget that you are the ones who have done it.
The Hungarians – accustomed to defeat and overwhelmed by the mantra “just don’t let things get any worse” – have been shown by you how to win. How to win if one is pitted against Brussels bureaucrats, the IMF, migrants, economic bankruptcy – or indeed floods. You have shown Hungary that if great forces are mobilised, then we must not flee or cower, but turn to fight and stand our ground.
The battle being fought for our country is not some kind of misfortune or obligation forced on us. On the contrary, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase our virtues and our character as human beings. And we have shown the entire country that we did not come to this world to endure life as mindless sheep, but as humans to create around us beauty, happiness and a sense of the sublime. Yes, great forces have sprung into action. Yes, we must fight an unfairly difficult fight against them. But I ask you not to curse your fate, but to relish it. Relish the trials of strength, the powerful opponents, and be glad that you are still of an age and in a condition which makes you fit to fight and able to do something important. Be glad that the country needs you, and that perhaps you will be the ones whose personal effort will tip the scales in favour of victory. Be glad that such great forces have sprung into action in Europe and around Hungary, because when great forces spring into action, only then can we realise that we are not animals, but spiritual beings.
Hungary before all else, God above us all.
Go for it, Hungary, got for it, Hungarians!