Speaking at a conference organized by the Századvég Foundation on Monday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the lesson learnt from the 2002 election defeat was that “we believed that if we live in a democracy, nothing threatens us anymore”.
“We thought the nation has sovereignty, it is ours, and everyone will serve that at home and respect it from the outside,” the prime minister added. “The world around us is not interested in Hungary remaining a sovereign country … they will be better off if we partially or fully lose our sovereignty,” he said, adding that even some Hungarians thought that way. Hungary, he said, could not be sovereign as long as public thinking was dominated by “a liberal hegemony”. “This does not mean that we should eliminate what belongs to our adversaries … what we want is pluralism in Hungary,” he said. “In the West, they have not understood this; public thinking there is unable to step out of the liberal framework,” he added. The Hungarian political system stands closer to a democratic way of thinking than the Western European does, he said. “Liberals do not care about the people; their thinking focuses on an ideology and not the community of people,” he added. Orbán said Hungary’s international influence was “greater than its real weight” because “Europeans can now express their opinion via Hungary rather than their own publicity”. “It is high time the West learnt that you cannot live in lies because it will make you sick and destroy you,” he said. Meanwhile, he said “lost sovereignty was in the focus of the last century”, while Hungary’s sovereignty was regained at the end of the century and “this decade is about retaining that sovereignty”. Hungary continues to rely on Századvég’s help, “especially the young generation”, Orbán said. “We regained sovereignty and now it is up to young people to retain it.”
The prime minister added that Hungary today is the voice of the people of Europe. “Hungary is the only country that speaks the thoughts of Hungarians and Western Europeans,” he told the conference on sovereignty. “The time has come for change in Europe and for Europeans to take back European institutions.” Concerning the history of Századvég, PM Orbán said the institute was founded 30 years ago, “but the concept had been born much earlier, in the mid-1980s, when Századvég, a periodical, was issued,” noting his own participation. “This generation decided not to pretend anymore” and expressed its hatred of communism, he added. “We wanted the communists to fail and the Soviets to pull out of Hungary … and a periodical seemed to be a good idea, as free life begins with free speech and free speech starts with free writing,” he said. “Freedom will bring further freedoms and create free people; that was the philosophy of Századvég.” He said his generation had been “the most inexperienced and the most radical” of all other opposition movements. The foundation of Századvég was “a story of the heart and the love for the homeland”, he said.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the Századvég Institute was needed as an “intellectual workshop, a civic research centre that supports us”. It was clear to everyone in 1993 that “Fidesz exists and will exist”, but the return of the communists then posed a serious intellectual challenge. “The real twist in the entire story, which also made our lives intellectually more difficult, was that the door where they entered had been opened by freedom-loving liberals,” he added. “Nobody is surprised about that here now because it is natural in Western Europe that the liberals are the new communists,” but in 1993-94 it caused “a moral shock” that shook the entire Hungarian political system because “decent people at that time found this odd, to say the least”. “As a result, we had to get strong and there had to be an intellectual workshop, which is why Századvég was created 30 years ago,” he said. Orbán suggested that back then, they had been on the same side with US financier George Soros, because “he also did not want Hungary to be ruled by communists, and supported anti-communist activities”. “It was not yet clear that he wanted to be the one to rule central Europe instead of the communists and Soviets … we could not be aware of that,” Orbán said. “Now he no longer conceals his plans … he crashed the British pound, he is flooding Europe with migrants, he will openly say that national borders should be abolished and Europe’s countries stripped of their sovereignty,” he added.