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Nov 13, 2017

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Speech at the 7th Plenary Session of the Hungarian Diaspora Council

Budapest, 9 November 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to the 7th Plenary Session. A speaker should first of all define his or her subject. I understand that this year’s meeting has given you – and will give you – an opportunity to discuss all the special policy issues related to the diaspora. In consequence, I need not limit myself to those topics. Instead, I must explain – or at least try to explain – how we in Hungary and elsewhere see the situation of Hungarians around the world. I must talk about what space and time we see ourselves occupying, and what tasks we see ourselves tackling in the coming period. But before I attempt to offer you an overview, let me also thank you for your support in recent years. Your help in building Hungarian communities in several parts of the world would still be highly important, even if Hungary were not going its own way, which necessarily brings with it debates: horribile dictu, intelligent debates – as is the case with every country going its own way.

As we have just heard, Hungary is a global nation. Indeed this is an ambiguous term, as it can be used to mean the lack of a homeland; for if your homeland is the whole world, it is unclear whether you have a true homeland of your own. We are a global nation, but with a motherland. As we’ve just heard from the Deputy Prime Minister, Hungary strives to be a good motherland, and a homeland to all Hungarians. At the same time, a country can only be a shared homeland for all if they feel at ease in it. This means that you are also able to feel proud of those you live alongside. Indeed, you, the Hungarians living in diaspora, are always a source of pride for us in Hungary. You are both a source of national pride and a reserve of strength in that pride. Every Hungarian knows that life in this country is hard, but it must be even harder to hold one’s own and to gain recognition and esteem abroad and among foreigners. In recent decades this is something that millions of Hungarians have achieved. Millions of Hungarians living in diaspora have managed to gain recognition and to fight their way to honour and prestige. We are aware of the efforts this demands and the consequent respect it deserves. Therefore I want to assure you that we in Hungary speak and think of you in the diaspora with respect.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The most important part of the overview that I’m about to offer is clearly the new Hungarian Constitution. This law has laid a solid foundation for the Government’s decisions on citizenship which – in addition to existing cultural ties – seek to link all members of the Hungarian nation in terms of public law. Our basic philosophy, enshrined in several laws, holds that all Hungarian individuals and communities – whatever state jurisdiction they are subject to – are part of a united Hungarian nation. As has been mentioned, this philosophy has in turn given rise to specific policies. If we look at our achievements, we see that in the past six and a half years 905,000 Hungarians living outside the country have applied for citizenship; and I understand that 870,000 of them have taken the oath of allegiance. Not included in this figure are a further 132,000 individuals living in diaspora, who have also confirmed or received Hungarian citizenship either through the traditional naturalisation process or by establishment of their pre-existing entitlement to Hungarian citizenship. This means that a total of more than 1 million people have in some way applied for the granting or recognition of Hungarian citizenship. This in turn opens up the possibility for the one millionth person to regain Hungarian citizenship and to swear the oath of allegiance before the end of this year. As I believe in the power of symbolism, I would like this to happen precisely on 5 December.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This means that, in terms of the number of citizens, we could define ourselves as a medium-sized European state. Once again, I want to acknowledge your effective assistance in enabling the Hungarian government to shape the perception of Hungary around the world.

As far as Hungary is concerned, the achievements of recent years could be summarised in plain language as the country coming to its feet, and settling its finances and economy so that it no longer needs money or help from anyone else to support itself, to make progress or to create its own future. This doesn’t mean that we don’t engage in international financial transactions or participate in international politics, but it does mean that keeping Hungary operational is now dependent only on us Hungarians. In Hungary political debate is less like a calm and thorough analysis of the facts and comparison of the resulting conclusions, and more like a political scuffle. As a result, there are alarming figures which tend to be sidelined in public discourse, and which one can only completely understand in retrospect. However, let me take 2010 as a starting-point, and remind you that then our homeland, our motherland, had only 3.7 million workers out of a total population of 10 million; and among those 3.7 million workers there were no more than 1.8 million taxpayers. Such a state of affairs is a long, painful but direct route towards national suicide. In contrast to this, the number of workers in Hungary, our motherland, has now risen from 3.7 to 4.4 million – and all of those 4.4 million people pay income tax. This provides financial stability, and has enabled us to settle our finances as the foundation for policies, long-term goals, spirit, culture, family policy and much else.

A nation that has found its feet is a free nation. It is fair to say that since we found our feet we have begun to act as a free nation. But this has also brought with it some problems. Whatever a nation of serfs does will seldom lead to international conflict, but this is not the case with a free nation. At this point I would like to concur with the opening words of Mr. Potápi’s speech, which were a quotation from the Prince of Transylvania. As has always been the case in Hungarian history, whenever Hungary defends its right to act in accordance with its elementary interests as a nation, it is not only defending its own freedom: due to its special geographical position, which also creates a spiritual space, it is also defending the freedom of a number of other nations – and indeed the whole of Europe. Whenever we defend our borders, insist on our national sovereignty and defend our country’s independence, we are also defending Europe – and, in a broader sense, Western culture.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As this may be our last meeting before the election, I should make a couple of specific points. In this context, the key concept is modesty. To use a wise and pithy Hungarian expression, now we have achieved something to be modest about. If we have done that, we really should be modest. In other words, while listening to my following remarks about our achievements, please do not interpret them as a list of the Hungarian government’s achievements. The Hungarian government has merely galvanised, motivated, coordinated and guided the underlying work and efforts. In fact the achievements are based on the economic efforts of Hungary’s ten million citizens. Let me make it clear that when I speak about modesty it is justified, because in all areas of everyday life Hungary has achieved the kind of results that haven’t been achieved here for many long decades. Over the past thirty years news about economic success has always focused on macroeconomic matters, and therefore Hungarians have not felt the effect of this success in their own lives. Now the situation is different. When now we talk about macroeconomic figures, it is also worth imagining an underlying real life in which macroeconomic results make themselves felt. Hungarians are still far from living the lives they would like to, as they are not living as well as they would like – let alone living in style. But now it is clear that the effects of the economic changes are no longer reflected simply in statistics and macroeconomic figures, but also in everyday life. In all fairness, we should own up and apologise to our fellow Hungarians from the US who support the Democrats, because we echo President Trump’s policy with our own slogan of “Hungary First”. As the word “first” is shared, this is fifty per cent the same as the US President’s policy – but that is still quite a lot. The point I’d like to make is that, in the wake of the US election, the attitude of mind now guiding Hungary – which in Europe tends to be criticised, and earlier was openly denounced – is now seen differently in the world. This is regardless of the debates now tormenting our American friends, in which we do not wish to intervene.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Perhaps the most important Hungarian achievement I need to tell you about is that we have created a work-based society to replace our former welfare-based economic policy and society, which consistently focused on the distribution of budget funds. Hungary is now operating a multi-layered system – one that I won’t detail right now – in which anyone who wants to work can do so, without exception. In Hungary we have gradually arrived at a situation in which the challenge is not providing people with work, but providing workers for the larger number of job opportunities that exist. This is also a problem, but, as we often say in the KDNP and in Fidesz, the world of politics is one in which there are always problems. The choice is not between creating a problem-free world and living in a world of problems: we have no such choice. Instead, our only choice is between good problems and bad problems. When people are unemployed, that is a bad problem. When there are more jobs than there are people, that is a good problem. Right now we are struggling with the latter of these two problems. Our statistics show that, since the fall of communism, Hungary’s employment rate has never been as high as it is now. On the other hand, compared to Western European countries with more fortunate histories, Hungary is a poor country. If you make a comparison with Germany – especially the part not invaded by the Soviets – or Austria, which was abandoned by Soviets as early as 1955, then of course Hungary’s economic situation and the standard of living, assets and property of its people still leave much to be desired. But if we look at our achievements and current status in relation to our own past, we can speak with greater confidence.

I don’t want to bore you with figures, but perhaps there are only a few countries anywhere in Europe where the minimum wage – which fundamentally determines a country’s wage levels – has risen as fast as it has done in Hungary. In 2010 it was approximately 73–74,000 forints, and now it stands at 127,000; meanwhile the minimum wage for skilled employees has risen from 90,000 to roughly 161,000 forints, and is set to increase again on 1 January. This means that in international wage rankings Hungary’s minimum wage is the third highest among the European Union’s 28 Member States. I think this should be a source of pride for the whole country. A key driving force in the Hungarian economic system has been a series of tax cuts. Hungary has a special income tax system which is partly proportionate and partly based on families. Our tax system is now more favourable to businesses than any other system in the whole of Europe. If I’m not mistaken, no other EU country has a single-digit tax on business profits. Our rate is nine per cent. Perhaps Bulgaria has a rate of nine or ten per cent, but all other countries have one that is much higher. The low taxes that we have levied on enterprises clearly reflects our intention to encourage Hungarians to do business, and to encourage foreigners to invest in this country. A look at the investments completed in Hungary shows that we have made half of the business world interested in investing in Hungary, and we are now negotiating with the other half. A major achievement in the recent period is that we have managed to induce multinational companies and banks to contribute more proportionately to the public finances. For the moment we can draw a veil over the details, but that is what we have done. This is something they accepted in the end, at the last minute, and they eventually realised – at least the smarter ones did – that the success of the country and the nation is also in the long-term interest of companies and banks operating in Hungary.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When talking about politics, the Hungarians immediately think of the family, as if automatically driven by their instincts. In Hungary we are pursuing policy which supports families. I think this is morally right and beneficial for the nation. At the same time, there is no point in denying that we also feel under pressure: we’re not only doing this because we think it is right, but also because it is necessary. Despite its traditional family-based structure, for a long time Hungarian society has been heading towards a demographic catastrophe. And I cannot say that it has escaped such catastrophe. That is the reality. Hungary is one of those European countries in which people are having fewer and fewer children, and are becoming parents ever later in life. This is not an excuse, but a simple explanation that this is a trend across Europe, where most countries accept this situation as a fact of life, seeking to build their future demographic and labour policies on immigrants, and aiming to replace the shortfall in their own populations with immigrants. We do not accept this approach. Our attitude is completely different, as we do not want to solve our labour market problems or demographic shortfall with immigrants. Therefore, pursuing a family-friendly policy agenda is for us a matter of necessity, of national necessity – or, if you like, a matter of national life and death. One of the reasons I am critical of previous governments is that – regardless of the government of the day’s attitude to the nation and the family, and the personal values of its members – a community in Hungary’s position should pursue a demographically favourable family policy agenda – even when it has a government of the left. Now it has a government of the right, and for us such policy is not unnatural. All I would point out is that Hungary has still not escaped from catastrophic population decline.

There are some promising signs, but that is not the case as a whole. One promising sign is that while in 2010 Hungary’s fertility rate was the lowest in Europe, at 1.25, by 2016 the rate had risen to 1.49. In other words, our population grew without any immigration, relocation or resettlement. The Government has taken a deep breath, decided to face up to the reality of this issue, and committed to raising the fertility rate to the level required for maintenance of the population – a rate of 2.1 – by 2030. The date is not optimal as far as our government ambitions are concerned, but this would still be a fine achievement. To this end, a few days ago we established the family policy cabinet, which is responsible for developing a series of government measures which we hope will yield results. Having a child is a personal decision and commitment: Hungarians must take this decision themselves, and we cannot do so in their stead. At the same time, the Government is trying to gather resources – whatever is possible – to support and facilitate such decisions. In summary, the Government’s declared objective is to use its own means to raise the Hungarian nation’s fertility rate by 2030 to 2.1: the minimum level needed to preserve the nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a result of its size, Hungary accords special importance to foreign policy. Foreign policy is vital for medium-sized European states such as ours – even more so for a country like Hungary, located as it is at a military crossroads. We must continuously envision our existence within a triangle whose points are Berlin, Moscow and Istanbul. Modern technology means that we must also take account of the United States: a key player in this region. The primary condition for success in global politics and diplomacy is respect. Hungary can only pursue successful foreign policy if it is respected. When we come under the sort of heavy attacks you sometimes see in the global media, the question is what this signifies. In my opinion this is a sign of respect, because attacks are only launched against those who represent something that is visible, intelligible and worth taking a position on. The simple fact that somebody launches an attack signifies a certain degree of respect. So to me the attacks against Hungary and critical international reactions to events in Hungary are – apart from some coarse ones that show disrespect – more a sign of recognition and respect than of disrespect. This is with the exception of some remarks that no self-respecting nation could accept. In summary, the simple fact that some people are challenging – even if sometimes in offensive tones – Hungary’s economic model, its immigration policy, its anti-migrant policy, and pro-sovereignty foreign policy, shows that we represent something that we are right to make a matter for debate at the very least. And to me this is a sign of recognition more than anything else.

In this vein, the fact that 2017 has been a high-point for diplomacy in Hungary is a simple matter of logic. Last year we received the British prime minister. This year we received the Russian president. In May I visited the Chinese president in China, and this month the Chinese premier is coming to Hungary: it is now November, and this month the Chinese premier is coming to Budapest, to meet sixteen Central European prime ministers. In addition, we have taken over the Presidency of the Visegrád Group [V4], in which we are in a good position to continue our building work in Central Europe. On this note, I should also mention that since the fall of communism no Israeli prime minister had made an official state visit to Hungary – until this July. Then Prime Minister Netanyahu visited Hungary, expressing his belief in Israeli-Hungarian friendship; and we made substantial and important deals, and stabilised Israeli-Hungarian relations to an extent that has long been unknown in Hungary. In light of the historical background, I think this is a major achievement, and a milestone in Hungarian foreign policy. Therefore in the future I will do my best to maintain Israeli-Hungarian relations at the current level and quality.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The most important part of this overview of foreign policy is that Hungarians should always be aware that the peoples of Central Europe share the same fate and are interdependent; so we should strive to achieve cooperation between the Central European countries not only at the level of political rhetoric, but also at the level of specific actions. It is fair to say that in this respect we have achieved great things, especially as the V4 has started to expand its influence and importance in Central Europe, and we are planning meetings – indeed we have already held some – which open up larger areas for the building of Central Europe than those currently offered by the V4.

On this note, I welcome the results of the Austrian election. Relations between Austria and Hungary have always had their positive and negative aspects. This country was long forced to define its independence in opposition to the Habsburg dynasty, and this has left a historical and cultural legacy; but no one in this country denies that maintaining positive relations with Austria should be a priority for Hungary. As I see it, on the most important European matters the prospective Austrian administration and Hungary will find it easy to play in the same key.

At this point I must mention our relationship with Ukraine, which is a story that I consider to be both difficult and sad. This is because in recent years Hungary has consistently stood up for Ukraine, even on the thorniest issues – and here I’m not simply talking about the issue of Ukraine’s independence, which we have always supported as being self-evident. Hungary also engaged in the most heated European debates and consistently spoke up for closer links between Ukraine and the European Union. I was one of those people – indeed sometimes a leading player – who successfully campaigned for Ukrainians to be granted visa-free travel in the EU. For us this has become a sad story. We use this subjective expression because, after achieving all these results, we received promises that the Hungarian communities in Ukraine could never in any way be disenfranchised, and that the Ukrainians would never reduce the level of minority rights already gained in compliance with EU rules. But this is exactly what happened – from one day to the next. This has sparked bitter controversy with Ukraine, and, although it does not change our attitude of friendship, it does cool that friendship. It is very hard to cooperate with a country that clearly discriminates against our compatriots living in its territory. So this is a daunting challenge for Hungary’s foreign policy. In this context we are not going to start a futile and philosophically ambiguous debate about the international standards that protection of minority rights should comply with, because this is a delicate issue. The European Union stands on solid ground when it clearly proclaims that the level of minority rights already achieved and granted cannot be reduced for any reason. The level can be raised, but it can never be lowered. And it is an undeniable fact that Ukraine’s new legislation on education represents a regression compared to the previous situation – even though Ukraine says that it is complying with international standards in some form. I don’t know about that, and I don’t want to concern myself with it; but we must stand up for the EU rule and for the prohibition on its repeal or dilution, and call such actions to account. This is all the more important because there are at least three substantial bills and legislative matters on Ukrainian lawmakers’ agenda; and if now we fail to make it clear that a country committed to moving closer to Europe must comply with European standards and regulations, we may end up facing a similar situation with the adoption of subsequent laws – which include Acts on citizenship, language use, and the restitution and operation of Church properties.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

While we need to hold extensive negotiations with Ukraine, it is fair to say that on the whole Hungary is one of the countries that stabilise the region: one that not only has an interest in regional peace and prosperity in Central Europe, but that is also working hard for both objectives. Moreover, we have accomplished a rare feat in the history of Hungarian politics: the United States, Russia, Germany, Israel, China and Turkey all have an interest in Hungary’s success. We have no conflicts with any major country: on the contrary, all the countries which shape global politics feel that they have an interest in the success of Hungary.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to make one more comment on our activities in the Carpathian Basin. We view the provision of funding in the Carpathian Basin as a public investment that will benefit the nation. We are working on development of an educational network for the Carpathian Basin. We are planning to enable Hungarians to be taught in their mother tongue, from crèche to university, and to acquire competitive skills in those institutions. In many countries this form of family policy and family support is unknown, but we shall build Hungarian crèches in the Carpathian Basin. As Mr. Semjén has just explained, our expenditure on policy objectives for Hungarian communities abroad has increased tenfold since our parties entered government in 2010.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion, let me briefly touch on the diaspora. To me the most valuable aspect of our relations with the diaspora is that we have managed to regularise them. In other words, we have been able to bring to an end a period of inconsistencies – many of them the result of good intentions. In addition, we have a strategy – a diaspora policy with strategic goals – which will enable us to announce programmes that are open to the public. So our diaspora policy is systematic.

We have identified four directions of development: the development of education in the diaspora; the enhanced use of diplomacy throughout the diaspora; the establishment of a Hungarian emigration and diaspora centre; and the strengthening of economic relations between the motherland and diaspora communities. This is really important, because intellectual and spiritual commitment is undoubtedly important – indeed, I’d like to make it clear that this is the most important thing. But if this is not supported by myriad forms of economic cooperation in everyday life, then such commitment will be like a house with a roof, but no walls. It is equally important for every Hungarian diaspora community, in whichever country in the world, to establish economic relations of whatever volume with the motherland as soon as possible. In this respect, numbers of participants matter more than trade volume, because in essence the key objective is not economic development but the strengthening and underpinning of relations between the diaspora and the motherland. To this end, in the coming years we shall expand the Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Programme, the Mikes Kelemen Programme and the Rákóczi Association’s Diaspora and Expatriate Programme, and we shall continue to organise thematic camps for young people living in diaspora and young Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin who wish to participate.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In summary, every Hungarian can be proud of our recent achievements, whatever their political allegiance and the political party they vote for.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is not enough to achieve results; sometimes they must be protected. Today we live in a world in which we need to protect what we have achieved, as those achievements are subject to a variety of threats from a variety of directions. The principal danger we can see lies in the debate between globalists and nations. Europe has decided to set out on a post-Christian and post-national era. In other words, it has envisaged a new era in which it will replace policy built on Christian traditions and national consciousness with something different. For want of a better term, we call it policy for a “United States of Europe”. Europe is working to replace an alliance of nations with a federation of states: a United States of Europe, similar to the USA – with all its accompanying spiritual and cultural consequences.

This is the only logical explanation for millions of people being transported to Europe from other cultures – as there must be some sort of explanation for why this is happening now. We cannot consider this to be an accident. And no one can claim that Europe would be unable to defend its borders if it wanted to: this is something that can be done by any country outside Europe. So it is reasonable to suppose that what is lacking is not the ability to do so, but the will. And this lack of will is not unintentional, but the consequence of a definite underlying attitude that, in a United States of Europe, nations and their Christian character are more of a drawback than a benefit. This issue must be resolved. I think the political forces intent on creating a United States of Europe have been deliberately transporting to Europe – and will continue to transport – multitudes of people from other cultures, who in many cases truly deserve our pity and compassion. I have repeatedly said that we don’t have hearts of stone either. We can clearly see that migrants are also victims, due to a number of simultaneous factors: partly they are victims of bad or non-existent policy in their native countries; and partly they are victims of our bad European policy, which offers them the false hope that they should come here and at a stroke replace their old lives for European lives of a better quality. This hope is obviously untrue. They are also the victims of a foreign policy agenda that the West has erroneously pursued in various parts of the world: bombing areas until they are uninhabitable, and creating conflicts without any strategy for ending them or for creating local conditions for life with human dignity. Therefore we understand that migrants are victims; but this does not explain why we should transport millions of them to Europe. This is especially inexplicable if you look around and see that no one else in the world is doing such a thing. The United States is doing the opposite, and this is precisely what is causing most of their debates over there. The rich Arab countries are not acting like Europe – even though the people affected are, if you like, members of their own nations and race. If there is anywhere that migrants from the Muslim world could expect help to come from, it would be precisely from wealthy Muslim countries. But, just like Australia and Russia, those countries are denying entry to migrants. China also has a clear anti-immigration policy. In summary, today the only place in the whole world which is engaged in illegal migration and people smuggling is Europe. I don’t think it is a conspiracy theory to say that if this is the only place in the whole world where something exists, then we must find a clear explanation for it. I think the explanation for this lies in the notion of a United States of Europe. This considers both nations and Christian traditions as a drawback and an obstacle, rejecting them as foundations or building blocks, and instead seeking something completely new.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This has created a situation in which Europe now consists of two different parts. Some of the countries have become immigrant countries, while others have not done so and are unwilling to do so. The future of the entire European Union depends on how these two groups of countries can create the conditions for coexistence. Obviously we cannot expect others to undo what they have done – Hungary has no such demand. But neither can they expect us to become like them, because the Government and the Hungarian people do not want that. Not only is the Hungarian leadership – including myself – against this idea, but there is an institution called democracy, which demands that in key issues of national policy the people’s will must be clearly enforced. And the Hungarian people do not want Hungary to become an immigrant country. But they are not the only ones: the other Central European nations also reject that notion. So it is clear that the immigrant countries cannot force us to become the same as them. And if neither of our groups of countries can force its will on the other group, our only option is coexistence. The question is whether we can create a form for this coexistence. I have to admit that right now we are not managing this successfully. Rather than a search for forms of coexistence, the typical situation now is a debate involving reciprocal attacks and criticisms. Rather than drawing inspiration from the spirit of coexistence, the long-term draft laws on the European Union’s agenda also show immigrant countries’ determination to impose their will on Central Europe. So we have long, hard battles ahead of us until the moment when, I predict, we can convince Europeans that their continent’s future hinges on respect for – and acceptance of – national characters and differences, and on finding forms of coexistence.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is precisely for these reasons that we should frankly declare an interest, and briefly mention that next year there will be a parliamentary election in Hungary. And we should declare that of course it makes a difference who wins – especially for those of us responsible for leading the parties. On the whole, however, right now what is at stake for Hungarians is not a matter of party loyalty. It is fair to say that the question is not primarily which party to vote for, but what kind of future to vote for. Shall we protect our achievements and keep Hungary as a non-immigrant country, or shall we throw in the towel and accept the dictates of others? Shall we revert from a free nation to a subjugated nation? Shall we accept others transforming us according to their preferences – specifically transforming us into an immigrant country which does not build on its national culture and Christian traditions, but indeed seeks to break away from them? This dimension is broader than that of political parties. I am convinced that the next parliamentary election will have a national dimension and a historical perspective way beyond that of political parties. Hungarians will need to make a wise decision in this matter, determining how we should continue to live our lives in this country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Finally, I have a request for you – one that is cut out for you. You have certainly learnt about a new European civic initiative involving the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania [DAHR]. Being an international initiative, it has an English name: “Minority SafePack”. It boils down to collecting one million signatures from citizens in the EU Member States, to petition Brussels to deal with issues relating to autochthonous minorities in Europe. I am convinced that, given half the amount of solidarity that Brussels has shown to migrants, it could long ago have solved the problems faced by all autochthonous minorities in Europe. The DAHR is asking the European Union to accord this issue due weight and importance, but this will require the collection of those one million signatures. This is not a party matter, but an issue for the whole nation, so I respectfully ask the members of the Diaspora Council – especially those from Europe – to help the DAHR in this endeavour. Likewise, I respectfully ask for the support of those media representatives in attendance. As this is not a matter of party politics, the Hungarian media could also play a role, as an initiator and supporter. Please consider this.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is the overview I offer you today. Every year a survey is made of how Europe’s nations perceive their future. I don’t really know if the results should make us happy or sad, but in relation to us there is something about this survey that we can definitely consider to be good news. The survey annually asks the people of Europe’s nations if they think that the continent or country that their children will live in will be better or worse than the one they are living in today. And I can tell you that in every country in Central Europe – including in Hungary – the response this year, and for some years now, has been that the next generation – our children – will live in a better Hungary than that which we, their parents, have lived in. This is regardless of any swings in global or national opinion. This trend, which we can call “hope”, this spiritual phenomenon, is the most important element in politics. We can be at a certain level, lower than others who are higher up than us; but if those above us think that their life in the future will be worse, their perception of society will be totally different from that prevalent in a nation which, though poorer, feels that it is on the path of progress. This is a hope, and hope is the most important thing in life. The fact that people in Hungary have managed to recover their ability – clearly with God’s help – to look to the future with hope brings with it the hope of a more pleasant life. Then the message expressed by Széchenyi – who in his life was unable enjoy the state he described – will come to pass: being a Hungarian will not only be uplifting, but also rewarding.

With this hope and in this spirit I thank you for being here and listening to me. My final sentence will be one of guidance, from a man whom we have realised does not exclusively belong either here or there, but to the whole nation, and who taught us all. Sándor Kányádi said this: “Nation first, family second and your own welfare third.”

Thank you for the honour of addressing you.