Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the closing event for the National Consultation
27 June 2017, Budapest
There is little left for me to say: there’s not much more meat on the bone. Before I start my speech, however, let me extend a special welcome to a few guests here. I warmly welcome Pál Schmitt, the President of the Republic who promulgated our constitution. We should never forget that the possibility and the basis for all the measures we have implemented and all the decisions we have adopted – and, I would say quietly, all the success we have achieved – were created by the new Constitution, which could not have been passed without Pál Schmitt. Thank you very much. I wish to welcome here Prime Minister Péter Boross, who is a veteran debating partner and ally – for me personally, also. I am grateful to him for the advice, experience and wisdom with which to this day he has assisted the work of our present civic, national and Christian Government. I also wish to welcome Mrs. Dalma Mádl: thank you for being here with us, and also for bringing here the memory of President Ferenc Mádl. I also wish to extend a most respectful welcome to the widow of József Antall: thank you for accepting our invitation; without the need for words, this evokes the memory of the first democratically elected government – which provides the present government with valuable sustenance on its mission. I extend a special welcome to the President of the KDNP, not only because he is a tried and trusted ally and a fine brother-in-arms – in our struggles, members of the KDNP are our brothers-in-arms – but also because I envy his continued freedom to deliver speeches off the cuff. I’m not allowed to do that, as it’s said that every word I say is important – and so even love is not what it once was. I wish to welcome our parliamentary group leader Mr. Lajos Kósa, who plays an important role in Hungary’s political life: his job is to provide us with a safe background. When we face the more difficult political decisions, we can rely on him and our parliamentary group to back us up, as no government decision of any kind would be possible without our Members of Parliament. And I must also thank Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga, who greatly helps us all – but especially me. Secure governance in the area of state finances affords us the luxury of not having to concern ourselves with that field, so that we can concentrate on other issues of a political nature. Mihály, we are grateful for this.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
But, of course, the rule against speaking off the cuff is there to be broken; one can cut oneself some slack by arguing for the need to respond to the previous speakers. This is my approach, and so I cannot refrain from comment on two thoughts mentioned by Minister Varga, upon which I’d like to elaborate.
The first question is whether or not the Hungarian economy is successful. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion on this, but those who respect the rules of common sense can surely give only one answer. This is not the interesting question, however: the interesting question is why, despite the clear facts, there are those who want to tell us that we’re not on the right track. This is a truly interesting question. And I’d like to make it clear that success is not only to be judged in terms of what Mr. Varga spoke about – namely that it can be viewed in one way or another; we must also ask who benefits from this success. No one can deny the improvement in the macroeconomic figures mentioned by my two fellow Members of Parliament and the Minister. Yet the fierce criticisms are not dying down, and the only possible and reasonable explanation I see for this is that we’re not successful in the way that others would like us to be successful: we are successful in our own Hungarian way. What does this mean? This means that when we are successful – as you have also heard the figures – the money that we generate and the performance we deliver benefits someone. Who receives this benefit? That is the question. We will always be in dispute with the global elite – the global political and economic elite – because they would like the Hungarian national economy to succeed in producing fine macroeconomic indicators which benefit them first of all, and benefit the Hungarian people only secondarily. We believe the very opposite, however: we want economic policy which primarily benefits the Hungarian people, and only secondarily benefits the global elite. Naturally, in today’s open, modern world economy no one can think it possible to pursue an economic policy without global capital and foreign investors, and it wouldn’t be right for anyone to consider forcing them out. What we should talk about is how these elements are integrated into the total national economy: we integrate these international factors into our economic policy in a way that generates success which primarily benefits the Hungarian people, and only secondarily benefits anyone else. This is why – regardless of the inquiring questions within us – we have enthusiastically applauded the President of the United States for thinking precisely as we do when he says “America First”. We say the same: “Hungary first, and then everyone else”. Mihály, allow me to add this much to what you said.
There’s another important question I’d like to comment on, and this is the question of how many people are in work, and whether it’s good for this many people in Hungary to be in work. Clearly there is an economic theory which claims that admitting guest workers into the country benefits competition in the labour market. I don’t share this view. Naturally, once the supply of Hungarian workers has been exhausted, the need may arise for workers arriving from elsewhere. But the important condition is that as long as there are Hungarians in our country who are free and available for work, we must not give jobs to others: we must only give jobs to those Hungarians who are not in work. I not only say this because it is fair, but because if we think about a country in which all the work – including the hardest, most menial or worst-paid – is done by the community in possession of that country, the culture and atmosphere in that country is completely different from one which consistentlylooks down on certain work which its people are no longer prepared to do, and which hands that work down for others to do. I’m convinced that if we want Hungary to be a strong nation, we must first of all provide everyone with work, and we must appreciate work of every kind: that of the cleaner, of the unskilled labourer, of the stock breeder. We must appreciate the work of every Hungarian. This is why it is right to increase the minimum wage; and as long as there are Hungarians without work, we have no reason to think about giving work to anyone other than ourselves. This is the second comment which, with your permission, Mihály, I would like to append to your presentation. Now, let me see: I have also prepared a speech.
I wish to welcome everyone on this, the birthday of our king Saint Ladislaus. Before I start the main body of my speech, it is right and proper to commemorate a king who built our nation. Saint Ladislaus strengthened the Hungarian state, thus protecting us against all external attacks and internal intrigues, and his practice of Realpolitik among the great powers guaranteed our country’s independence: “Stop Brussels”. His actions protected the Hungarian people against destruction by nomadic peoples: “Stop migrants”. Pursuing the course set by Saint Ladislaus has strengthened the identity of the Hungarian state and the Hungarian nation: “Stop Soros”. The Hungarians have pursued this path for a thousand years, and today we Hungarians likewise do not want to abandon this path.
But, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is not a history conference. Today we have gathered for an overview of our fifth national consultation; and of course, as we must now bring the consultation to a close, we thought that we should hold a kind of summer review of the troops, so that before they go their separate ways we have a reference point for continuation when they regroup in September. We would like to bring the political season to an orderly conclusion.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Three decades ago, the collective dream of our fledgling political community was the dismantling of the Iron Curtain and the unification of Europe: “Communists out, Soviets out”. We were guided by the belief that the concept of Europe proclaimed by Schuman and Adenauer could be realised. We thought that this Europe could be realised with us Hungarians as a free and independent nation becoming one of its full and active members. Fortunately for the Hungarian people, Germany was led by a formidable chancellor: Helmut Kohl. As Bismarck once advised, Helmut Kohl seized the coattails of God as He marched past, and in so doing united Germany. He thereby made the European policy of “Communists out, Soviets out” an irreversible one. We helped Germany by letting through the East Germans and by dismantling the Iron Curtain, while Kohl opened the gates of Europe to the Hungarian people. For that we are grateful. The cornerstone of our political creed has always been – and continues to be –European unity: the strong alliance of free and independent European nations. When we started the reunification of Europe in 1990 and finally accomplished it in 2004, we couldn’t have imagined that once again in our own lifetimes the unity and future of Europe could come under threat. In the past few years, however, we have seen that Europe is in danger. Its unity is in danger, and therefore its future is also in danger.
Today two momentous, historic issues are unsettling Europe. The first is the problem of illegal immigration, which we have good reason to call modern-day mass population movement. The second is about the sort of future we are moving towards: a Europe of Brussels or a Europe of the nations. The stakes are high, and so both of these issues are exerting tremendous pressures. We are in the midst of two debates, the outcomes of which, over many decades, may permanently and irreversibly determine Europe, the everyday lives of the European people, our own lives, the future of our children and – we should also begin to think about this – our grandchildren. If we fail to act wisely, we may lose our culture, our state, our way of life and our security, in a way that could be irreversible and for all time – as President Semjén has vividly explained to us. In these debates everyone has an opinion, and even those who already have speakers and amplifiers shout out their views at the top of their voices.
In terms of illegal immigration, Europe’s leadership – and particularly its left wing – bombards the citizens of Europe with a barrage of arguments, and tries to dull their senses. One such argument is that there is no such thing as an illegal immigrant, and there is no such thing as illegal immigration: those who want to come here and settle down should have free and open access to Europe; the fact that they cross borders without permission, without documents and in violation of current laws is a secondary consideration. Another such argument is that, on one of the smallest continents on the planet, the European people have a humanitarian obligation to take in half the world, if needs be. The argument is that this holds true even if states neighbouring migrants’ homelands – akin to those homelands themselves, though with enormous wealth and economic potential – refuse to let them in, instead shepherding them towards Europe. Yet another such argument is that it would best serve our economic interest to use immigration as a way of managing Europe’s serious demographic problems and the resulting shortage of labour. Those putting forward this argument don’t seem to be bothered by the fact that the cat is now out of the bag: throughout Europe, with the exception of a few countries, unemployment is high – particularly among the young – and only a tiny proportion of the immigrants who have arrived so far have entered work. The efforts of those claiming that solidarity demands the mandatory settling of migrants in all EU Member States according to a quota system – or even by creating migrant villages – are the Mount Everest of demented ideas. To top it all, they are now expecting cooperation from those countries whose opinions were never sought when they decided to invite migrants into Europe en masse, and when they were applauding themselves and their own compassion.
Allow me a slight digression. I don’t want to become involved in German attempts to falsify history, which seek to hold Hungary – rather than Germany – responsible for letting in migrants in 2015. Such attempts are being made in the German press. In the interest of historical truth, however, I’ll tell you that at the time I thanked the German chancellor for her assistance, but pointed out that Hungary was able and willing to handle the situation within Hungary, in accordance with the Schengen Agreement. I suggest that we suspend our disputes with the Germans for three months: there’s an election campaign over there, and we don’t want to take part in it. There are some who want to drag us into that campaign, such as our good old friend and supporter, Comrade [Martin] Schulz, who as a genuine Brusselite back in the European Parliament was truly irritated by us – or, to be more precise, by the idea of our national independence and freedom. Now that he has returned to Germany, and is stumbling from failure to failure towards the complete fiasco of a heavy election defeat, he wants to score some points with German voters by spouting anti-Hungarian bile. That is irresponsible, and the sort of behaviour which would never be countenanced by a statesman – though perhaps any ambition to attain that status is not even relevant in this instance. We must maintain our calm, behave responsibly, and refuse to respond to provocation from the German left. And every evening we should say a quiet prayer for Angela Merkel’s victory. Yes, the service of the nation sometimes requires personal sacrifices as well.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
“Multikulti” has been a spectacular failure, and now they want all the EU Member States, including us, to pay the price for it. The Western countries now want to see migrants who they misguidedly let in distributed among those countries – such as Hungary – which defended themselves and did not allow migrants entry. Naturally, we understand what they are doing: in fact they, too, want to be rid of the migrants – but they don’t want to admit this. They are ashamed to do so. This is why they have invoked a spurious demand for “solidarity”. After all, it’s more dignified to talk about solidarity – a morally noble concept – than to admit that now they would rather see migrants leaving their countries. Of course the voters in the affected countries are not so squeamish, openly declaring support for the migrant redistribution quotas on the grounds that this will result in migrants being taken away from their territories. This is the truth! Distribution, however, and the distribution of trouble is a bad approach, and is not a European approach. We recommend that those who no longer want migrants should not distribute them within Europe, but should transport them out of Europe. In this we will give them every support. This is why we support the joint proposal by the Italian and German interior ministers: that we should push our line of defence forward, all the way to Libya – indeed, all the way to Libya’s southern border. Europe can rely on Hungary’s participation in this.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
However, some sand has found its way into the gears in Brussels. Europe’s leadership looks on in anxiety as, one by one, its madcap ideas are stalled by the resistance of the individual nation states making up the EU. And at this point the other European debate is revealing its true colours. This is why some have called for the establishment of a United States of Europe, and want to see immigration policy and every important financial and economic decision transferred to Brussels. In fact the supporters of a United States of Europe want an imperial centre from which they can implement their ideas without hindrance: ideas such as distribution of migrants who arrived in Europe illegally, a common fiscal policy and a common social policy. These aims, however, are opposed by those – including us – who want a Europe of the nations. We who want a Europe of the nations are not Eurosceptics. Although this is what the Western press writes about us, this is simply not true: we are Eurorealists, who do not want to build the European Union on sand, but on rock-like foundations. And there is only one such bedrock: the reality of the European nations. Today the entire European Union superstructure rests on this substructure. If we move it, Brussels and the entire European Union will be violently shaken. This is the political truth of the Gaullists, acknowledged by us, their latter-day followers. No nation may be given orders on who it should live alongside in its own country, as that can only be a nation’s sovereign decision. On this question national and community sovereignty must take priority over the interests and arguments of the global elite. We Eurorealists think that the trouble must be dealt with at its points of origin, and migration must be stopped at source: instead of bringing the trouble here, help must be taken to where the trouble is. We take the view that we must protect our borders and our families. This is what the international agreements in force demand, and, even more importantly, this is our elementary interest.
The illusion of mass integration has been shattered. No matter how good it appears on paper and in textbooks, the painful truth is that it doesn’t work. In place of it parallel societies are emerging, with rising crime, deteriorating public security, the threat of terrorism and terrorist attacks. News of major or minor terrorist attacks are an almost daily occurrence in Europe now. Migrants arriving en masse from distant, distinct cultures are unable to integrate. The truth is that they don’t respect our culture, they don’t respect our laws, and they don’t respect our way of life; instead they make room for their own way of life, then supress ours, and finally supplant ours with theirs. The issue of migrants is therefore an issue of identity as well as sovereignty. Look at the statistics. Brussels sees this as an issue of distribution, while we Central Europeans see it as an issue of sovereignty and identity. This is why we cannot come to an agreement. The dispute is becoming ever more heated, it is moving every further from reality and common sense, and extreme views and statements are gaining in strength. In our view, no one other than Europe itself may make decisions in the debates on Europe’s future. By “Europe”, we don’t mean Brussels or the European leaders, but the community of European citizens: from Athens to Helsinki, and from Lisbon to Sofia. Theirs is the only opinion that matters. What we see instead, however, is that Europe, the motherland of democracy, no longer makes a habit of asking its people for their opinions. Since 2010 we have asked for Hungarians’ opinions on our most important collective affairs. This March we launched the fifth national consultation, and this time we asked the people about the dual debate I have mentioned. And with this, I’ve arrived at the beginning of the core of my address: this is the end of the introduction.
As regards the essence of what I have to say, the National Consultation on issues related to Brussels was concluded on 31 May. Questionnaires were completed by 1,688,044 people, which easily breaks the previous record for participation. We asked six questions, each of which concerned Hungary’s national sovereignty, with three relating to the migrant crisis and three relating to economic issues. The facts speak for themselves. As there was agreement on all six questions, we can say that in Hungary there is almost complete consensus on the need to defend the sovereignty of our policy on the economy and migration from intervention by Brussels. In the case of all six questions there was overwhelming support for the need to stop Brussels on the issues of the migrant crisis, centralisation by stealth and the appropriation of national powers. The people unanimously declared that decisions on the Hungarian economy must be adopted here, by people they have elected and who are in turn accountable to them. They also declared that we must continue to have the right to decide on taxes and energy prices, and we must not surrender these decision-making powers to others. The Hungarian people, Ladies and Gentlemen, don’t want to take in illegal migrants: the questionnaires show that they don’t want a single one, either on a temporary basis, or on any other basis. The Hungarian people unanimously want us to make every effort to protect the country against illegal immigrants.
Another digression. I would note in parenthesis that in the meantime our country is punching above its weight in providing financial and other donations for the aid of Christian communities in the troubled regions. We are also exceeding our normal capacity by taking in foreign students from those countries – including a number of Muslim countries. Hundreds of students from those countries are studying here in Hungary with Hungarian state scholarships, financed by you, the Hungarian taxpayers.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There is also agreement that we must not let illegal immigrants wander freely around the country, thereby giving them the chance to disappear from our sight, but should keep them under supervision while the authorities assess their applications. There is full agreement that the activities which seek to help illegal immigration – such as the popularisation of people smuggling and illegal immigration – must be punished. The Hungarian people cannot be deceived: they understand perfectly well that many foreign-funded organisations are organising, supporting and financing illegal immigration and, whether intentionally or not, are thus functioning as Trojan horses for illegal immigration and ensuing terrorism. This is not only recognised in Hungary. In Italy this is now being discussed openly, and also in other countries it is becoming increasingly difficult to conceal the fact that the people smugglers and the non-governmental organisations assisting illegal immigration constitute a collective mafia network. It is understandable that the Hungarian people want to know who supports these foreign-funded organisations, what they want to achieve, and what they’re doing here in our country. To sum it up briefly, respondents in the National Consultation were effectively in full agreement that the Hungarian people don’t want to hand the controls over to Brussels. They don’t want to surrender any more powers or competences other than those specified in the original treaties, in the accession documents. Hungary defends the current European acquis: it does not want to destroy them, it does not want to give them up, and it does not want to put them at risk. As we can read on the posters: Hungary is a strong and proud European country, which stands by its opinion and interests. This is where we stand.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Hungarian nation is not the only one in Europe with this view. It’s also part of my work to study pan-European surveys; these show that, while individual nations differ with regard to details, their views on fundamental issues are the same as those of us Hungarians. European nations do not want any more immigrants, and they do not want migrants to change their cultures and their lives. European surveys show that, when it comes to migrants, people aren’t concerned for their jobs – they clearly see that most migrants don’t really want to work: they’re concerned for their security, their physical safety, and the safety of their possessions. The same is true of the influence of Brussels. We can clearly conclude that the European nations don’t want to surrender any more powers and competences. Some, of course, think that even more powers should be surrendered, but in Hungary these views only account for 25 per cent: only 25 per cent of us believe this, while the European average is one third. This is not insubstantial. It’s a large minority, a clearly visible minority. This clearly indicates that, even though it’s still a minority view, the programme for a United States of Europe enjoys substantial support in Europe: the support of one third of the population. This shows that the debate is keen, and is far from over. To sum up, the European people want a European Europe, we want the original European Union of the founding fathers, and not some kingdom of Brussels.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
But wherever a kingdom is being built, in the background there are always kingmakers. Throughout history these have usually been extremely rich, powerful, influential people whose wealth also inflicts a sense of superiority upon them. They’re usually far from being democrats, because their plans for saving – or at least changing – the world often come up against the resistance of the people, who do not wish to be used as guinea pigs. In terms of intellectual progress they can hardly be blamed for their resistance. In the background now there is also one such determined and successful money man, who regards himself as a superior being. Unfortunately for us he happens to be Hungarian, and his name is George Soros. This is unfortunate, because it could also be seen as an internal Hungarian dispute; but in fact we are standing waist-deep in the turbulent waters of a dispute about the future of Europe. He is Hungarian, and thereforeintelligent. He has a plan, and he doesn’t even bother to hide it: he has made it public. He wants to see one million migrants coming from a different cultural background settled in Europe every year: by force, if needs be, and even against the express wishes of the European people. We must not be naive, and when it comes to such a financial speculator we should just ignore the humanitarian blather. If he really wanted to help, he would take his money to where it is needed, rather than increasing and importing the trouble to Europe. He works in the financial sector – in speculation – where money can only be made by ruining millions of people, by short-changing them. So of course there is no question of his being motivated by good intentions. Those in Budapest who seek to whitewash him deserve better, and present a sorry sight. The truth is that George Soros is a speculator who operates an extensive mafia network, and who is threatening Europe’s peace and future. For him migration is good business, and it would be even better business if we stopped resisting it. The reason he’s so angry with Hungary – and with me personally – is that we stand in the way of his grand plan and his grand business project. Let’s tell it how it is: this is the name of his game.
It’s also true that for a while his plans to change the world didn’t bother us, they did not reach the stimulus threshold of state politics, and we had no objection to being under the same roof with him. After all, our principle is that there is room for everyone under the sun. And we would have remained placid for a long time more, if he had not veered onto dangerous ground: if he had not announced his migrant resettlement programme, if he had not started financing organisations transporting in migrants, and if he had notsupported the mafia network of NGOs and people smugglers. When this happened he crossed a red line. This is no longer a matter of ideology or politics, but a matter of national security. And when it comes to the security of the Hungarian people, Hungarian families and Hungary, their security today and tomorrow, for us there can be no compromise: there can be no excuses, no philanthropic prattle, no liberal nonsense. There is only the law, power and defence. Today we must defend ourselves, with the weight of the law and the power of the state. And we shall.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The tragic thing about the situation is that today Soros gives EU leaders instructions on a number of issues, and, as you may have seen on live television, they bow down before him. It’s obvious that the infringement procedure which Brussels has launched against Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic for refusing the mandatory resettlement quotas is the result of instructions from him. We should also note that our opponents have played the anti-Semitic card. We reject this. This debate has nothing to do with anyone’s race or origins. We shall not engage in debates on such grounds. To us what matters is the strength of arguments, rather than the origins of the person who makes those arguments. Everyone is familiar with the Government’s position: zero tolerance against anti-Semitism. We all know that the Hungarian Jewish community is under the Government’s protection, and as long as we are responsible for law and order in this country, they can always rely on our protection. And although it’s best to leave this swampy terrain as soon as possible, we should just remark that the very people who accuse us of anti-Semitism are in fact those who are transporting anti-Semitism into Europe with migrants in contingents numbering tens of thousands. So our migrant policy also serves the best interests of Jewish communities in Europe, and this is so even if they don’t openly stand up for their elementary interests, and quietly accept the unfair attacks on the Hungarians, who are protecting them also. It’s important that you know, Ladies and Gentlemen, that we are not doing this for recognition or gratitude, but because the Hungarian government will always follow the voice of honour and humanity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is turning into a rather hot summer, and an even hotter autumn is ahead of us. Despite these difficult issues, it’s important that we never lose our good humour and our optimistic outlook on life. We’ll have to face further tough battles, particularly as the general election is fast approaching. Soros will do everything in his power to install a government in Hungary which dances to his tune, which dismantles the fence and opens the borders to illegal immigrants. The seriousness of the situation is amply demonstrated by the fact that he has even caught Jobbik in his net. After the National Consultation our task is to maintain our calm. Our task is to see the moral integrity of our policy. Our task is to remain self-confidently aware of our strength: no bombast and no complacency, just the simple fact that we are on the side of the Hungarian people, and the Hungarian people support the Government against Brussels and Soros.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Finally I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who participated in the National Consultation for stating their opinions and standing up for Hungary’s independence in the clearest terms. Enjoy the summer. And don’t forget: we shall not let Soros have the last laugh.
Go for it, Hungary! Go for it, Hungarians!