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Sep 19, 2018

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s statement in Parliament, responding to reactions to his address before the start of daily business

17 September 2018, Budapest

Honourable Speaker,

I do not have much to add. We have heard some interesting contributions. Perhaps the strangest thing was that while fulfilling my traditional constitutional duty, over the course of some twenty minutes not once did I utter the word “traitor”. Tímea Szabó, however, claims that this is all I talked about. Was this perhaps some kind of Freudian slip?

For the umpteenth time I’ve heard that I’m continually speaking about Hungarians working abroad as if they were doing something bad – as if it were wrong to consider the possibility of working abroad, and then to decide to follow through on that. I clearly remember that when Péter Medgyessy’s government was engaged in talks on Hungary’s EU membership – at that time we were in opposition and you were in government – one of the most important tasks we identified for the negotiating delegation was to minimise the obstacles encountered by Hungarians intending to work in the West. This was the joint mandate that we issued to Péter Medgyessy. After this, now that we’ve made it possible for people to actually be able to work in the West, to talk about them as if they were doing something bad is, I believe, both malicious and mistaken. Why don’t you leave it to the Hungarian people to decide who among them are capable, courageous, and resourceful enough – as this is not an easy thing – to leave Hungary and find employment abroad, for whatever reason? Why would anyone want to present them in a negative light? I firmly stand by those Hungarians who decide to find employment abroad; and as regards the regulations applying to them, they can always count on us. We believe that this is commendable, and if they want to work abroad, they should take advantage of the opportunities which the European Union and the Hungarian government have created for them.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I listened to the contributions from the leaders of the opposition parties. I received the impression that I was hearing the same old record over again: as if the fact that we had a parliamentary election here five months ago had entirely escaped your attention. The good Hungarian people have listened to these debates for many years, they took your arguments into consideration, then they then went to the polling stations and made their decision. They decided that you would be the size you are, and we would be the size we are. They decided to put that much trust in you, and this much in us – as you now see from the numbers sitting here. This was not our decision; this was the decision of the Hungarian electorate. I would like to make it clear that the Hungarian voters identified the debates about the Hungarian economy, family policy and migration, and they decided – expressing their will – that we should continue our family policy, our economic policy, our policy on Hungarian communities abroad, and also our policy against migration. Perhaps it is right for me not to seek to give you advice; but nonetheless, you should consider that unless you want to remain stuck in the past and continue running on the same old treadmill, it helps if you actually follow the people – if you listen to the people. Believe me, if you do so, then perhaps – instead of the same old questions – we could also talk in the House about issues which really matter in Hungarian people’s lives.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the second thing that I would like to say – or ask of the Honourable Opposition – is that, should another situation arise like the one we’ve just seen recently, you do not vote against Hungary – not ever. Criticism is one thing, but it is quite another thing to turn against one’s country. Just now I was observing you – I had the time and the opportunity. And I received confirmation of my earlier suspicion that the disease which infects Hungarian politics is the fact that here there are people and parties who quite simply hate us more than they love their country. This is a problem, because one should never cross that line. So instead of branding those who voted against Hungary as traitors, but still somehow responding to this situation, I can tell you that we’ve already seen something like this before in world history. I can simply quote what Leonidas said in a similar situation to those who betrayed him and Sparta. This is all he said: “May you live forever.”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Regarding the right to defend our borders, I would only like to add that the debate that I spoke about is unfolding as we speak. I didn’t quote officials or bureaucrats: I quoted Europe’s leading politicians. We are indeed threatened by their intention – which they have justified on the grounds of border defence – to take away that right from countries such as us, which are capable of defending their own borders, and which cannot for one moment be suspected of lacking the strength and determination to defend their sections of the Schengen Area’s external border. But why? If those who are unable to defend their borders need reinforcement, let’s supply them with reinforcement. But why take rights away from us? Why should anyone deprive Hungary of the right to defend its own borders? We know who we should let in and who not. We know precisely where we should build fences. We know precisely how many thousands – or tens of thousands – of personnel should serve on the border. Why would anyone in Brussels want to deprive us of this right? They will claim, of course, that the Hungarians will maintain command; but all the same these people would be coming here from Brussels. Why would that be necessary? Please think about that. Does it make sense? If our logic tells us that it doesn’t, that the defence of the Hungarian border doesn’t require it, then such a proposal must have some meaning other than the defence of borders. They want us to hand over the keys to our gates. They want to tell us who may and may not enter. And their goal is not to defend the borders, but to let in those who they want to let in and accept, but who are unable to cross the Hungarian border. Therefore I ask the opposition to represent the Hungarian national position on this issue – the curtailment and withdrawal of rights related to defence of the Hungarian borders. And I ask them to support the position of the Hungarian government in their own party families. All I ask of the opposition is that they stand by the nation in affairs of national interest.

Thank you for your attention.