PM Orbán: We need change in Brussels

In his 25th annual State of the Nation address, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán provided insights into Hungary's position amidst both internal and external challenges, offering a blend of reflection, critique, and a vision for the future.

The year "could not have started worse," PM Orbán began, referring to the resignation of President Katalin Novák. He described the event as a "nightmare" that has "affected us all," highlighting Novák's departure as a substantial loss for Hungary due to her relentless service to the nation and its people. "Her resignation, while proper, is a great loss for Hungary," the prime minister stated, emphasizing the gravity of the situation caused by a controversial presidential pardon.

“The resignation is both a satisfaction and an example for the country. It has given Hungary a chance to emerge stronger from its difficulties. And we will,” Prime Minister Orbán said. In his view, the Hungarian child protection system must be strengthened. “Our legislation to protect our children, from the constitution to ministerial decrees, needs to be overhauled and supplemented,” he said.

Reflecting on 2023, PM Orbán provided a sober assessment of Hungary's economic and social challenges, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine conflict. "We have been living and working under extraordinary circumstances and tremendous pressure for the fifth year," he acknowledged, pointing out the resilience of the Hungarian economy in protecting jobs and achieving a historically high employment rate of 75 percent. "We have managed to protect jobs. In fact, more people are working in Hungary now than ever before," he added, showcasing the government's commitment to employment and economic stability.

The prime minister expressed enthusiasm for Hungary's green transition, viewing it as an opportunity to make the country more livable and achieve energy independence. "The green transition has come at an opportune time for Hungary. We can kill two birds with one stone," he said, outlining ambitious plans for nuclear and solar energy development. "Our solar power plant development program is galloping ahead so fast it sometimes reminds us of a runaway horse; soon, we might have to rein it in and tame it," he noted, underlining Hungary’s rapid progress in renewable energy deployment.

“We are just a few years away from energy independence,” the prime minister said, adding that “for the first time in a long while, we are not the follower of a technological revolution, but the global leader.”

Prime Minister Orbán then detailed a five-point plan for Hungary's success, aiming to position the country as a leader in Europe. "We want Hungary to be one of the best countries in Europe: strong, secure, prosperous, and regarded with admiration worldwide," he said. The PM emphasized understanding global changes, adapting swiftly, remaining neutral in wars and sanctions, enhancing infrastructure and education, and supporting Hungarian companies' growth and innovation.

Touching on foreign affairs, PM Orbán said: “The good news is, our current dispute with Sweden is moving towards a conclusion. Together with the Swedish prime minister, we have taken important steps in order to rebuild trust. We are on course to ratify Sweden’s accession to NATO at the And this drags us down, pulls us back, places a lead weight on our feet," he argued, advocating for a shift in Brussels to policies more aligned with the interests of European citizens. “Change is needed in Brussels,” PM Orbán stated.

“Brussels' strategy for Ukraine has failed miserably. Not only on the battlefield, where the situation is disastrous, but also in international politics,” the prime minister said, adding that Hungary is just as alone in our peace position as we were in our anti-immigration position, and we will be just as right beginning of parliament’s spring session.”

The prime minister did not hold back in his critique of the European Union, particularly regarding its handling of the Ukraine crisis and migration. "2023 was the year of the European Union's failures. about the war.

On migration, he noted that "even a blind man can see that migration is a security risk and a breeding ground for antisemitism." According to PM Orbán, while Western countries are prosperous, while they are rich, it is time to face up to the reality that European competitiveness has been eroded by war, sanctions and blockading, and the fatal consequence will be the decline of the middle class. “And then democracy will be toast,” he concluded.

Reiterating Hungary's stance on Ukraine, PM Orbán highlighted the importance of neutrality. "Hungary's position remains unchanged. We will not be dragged into the war. We will not deliver weapons," he stated, emphasizing a commitment to peace and diplomacy. Additionally, he expressed a personal wish for the return of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, hoping for a renewed focus on peace in Eastern Europe.

According to the prime minister, “it is time for another Make America Great Again presidency in America. We are also preparing for a presidency ourselves. I am talking about the Hungarian presidency of the EU Council.”

“Real change can only come from a new European right, which we, Hungarians are part of. Down with Brussels, long live Europe! (…) The new right should not be an alternative to Europe, but a European alternative,” PM Orbán said, closing his speech.