PM Orbán: 2024 will again be “a year of success”

The prime minister said last year had been “a year of failure” for the EU, while dragging Hungary down, too.

In his State of the Nation address, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said 2024 will again be “a year of success”, adding that last year had been “a year of failure” for the EU, while dragging Hungary down, too.

“Brussels has only brought trouble for us … Brussels’ Ukraine strategy has failed spectacularly, not only on the battlefield but in international politics, too,” PM Orbán said. Despite the conflict being “a war between two Slavic brothers” the EU “nearly threw itself” into the conflict, leaving Hungary alone with its “pro-peace position”. Hungary’s position will prove to be the right one, “but the tragedy is that hundreds of thousands of people will die till then,” he said. The Hungarian position is unchanged: “we will not let ourselves be dragged into the war,” Orbán said, adding that the country would not deliver weapons to Ukraine even if that didn’t win the favour of some big powers. Orbán said the EU’s “pressure on Hungary” was now so great that ambassadors would come to parliament to “check up on the behaviour of the dollar left” but added that “sooner or later everybody will realise they are better off if they leave us alone.”

Meanwhile, the prime minister said it was “good news that our dispute with Sweden is nearing a conclusion”. Together with the Swedish prime minister, they made important steps to rebuild trust, he said, adding that the Hungarian parliament could ratify Sweden’s NATO accession at the start of its spring session. Orbán said the US was increasingly reluctant to provide financing to Ukraine, putting a growing burden on Europe, which was struggling with an “ailing” economy. Joint EU credit is “a road Hungary won’t go down again”, he added. “Brussels has abandoned Europeans … never has there been such a huge gap between Brussels’ policies and the interests and will of the European people,” he said. He pointed to the need for change in Brussels but said that change would “not happen by itself … Europe must recapture Brussels”. Concerning the EU’s new agricultural regime and the opening of European markets to Ukraine, Orbán said they had created “an impossible situation” for European farmers. “Rather than healthy food produced domestically we are forced to accept cultivated meat and GMO junk,” Orbán said. Farmers protesting all over Europe don’t want regulations to be decided by “climate fanatics” and “ivory tower experts”, he added.

On the subject of migration, PM Orbán said he had “bad news only”. He said migration posed a security risk and was a “hotbed for anti-Semitism”, while it would also “uproot European societies”. “They lured the migrants, sitting in Brussels and in Berlin with cotton candy in the hot sun, and now are surprised to be surrounded by wasps,” he said. “It is time to face reality: Europe’s competitiveness has been compromised by the war, the sanctions and emerging blocs with the upcoming, fatal consequences of an impoverished middle class, which will also mean the end of democracy,” Orbán said. Touching on EU enlargement, Orbán said the process had become “a communications tool” serving Ukraine policy goals while Brussels had “abandoned the Balkans because Ukraine needs the money”. Orbán said 2024 could be “a turning point” with elections in the European Union, in the United States, in India and a dozen other places. “The global political stage will look completely different at the end of the year…and if God helps us, Hungary’s room from manoeuvre will increase to an extent not seen for a long time,” he said. The prime minister said he would like to see Donald Trump return to the White House and make peace on the eastern side of Europe. “We cannot have a say in the elections of other countries, but we would very much like Donald Trump to return,” he added. “Let there be a ‘Make America Great Again’ presidency in America,” he said. “A revival of greatness in America and Europe. Connectivity, strengthening regional cooperation between Hungary and Slovakia, Austria and Serbia, and a sovereigntist turn in Brussels. That’s what we want under the Christmas tree this year,” he added. He said that the “bureaucrats in Brussels” wouldn’t bring Europe out of the crisis and that a new European right-wing, of which Hungarians were a part, could bring “real change”. The new right-wing is “not an alternative to Europe, but a European alternative”, he added.