Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that if Hungary is to be a free and sovereign country it has a constant need for domestic think-tanks.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Nézőpont Institute on Wednesday, the prime minister said political analysis as a profession was in its early stages in Hungary in 2006. “We went from there to having modern and well-structured political analysis even by western European standards,” he said. If ever there was a profession that requires an unbiased and objective point of view and is about informing the public about the impact certain decisions have on the country, “it is definitely the profession of politicians”, the prime minister said. “There is a need for an entity — like the Nézőpont Institute — whose mission is to observe this work without any distortions…” he added.
PM Orbán said Nézőpont had been the first Hungarian think-tank modelled after its Western peers. Fifteen years have passed since the think-tank’s establishment, “12 of which we were in power for”, he said. Orbán praised Nézőpont’s work in gauging public opinion, putting together policy proposals and its analysis of the media landscape. Institutes like Nézőpont are not only useful but vital in a free country, PM Orbán said. “There’s no national sovereignty without nationally-owned research institutes that prepare the work needed for policy decisions,” he said. PM Orbán underscored the importance of having think-tanks that prioritise national interests.
On the topic of next year’s general election, PM Orbán said that having as big a lead as ruling Fidesz has according to polls “is the most dangerous thing that can happen”. “We are confronted with the intellectual challenge of the civic Christian Democratic government enjoying a clear lead in voter support 5-6 months before the election,” the prime minister said. Though a lot can change in a short amount of time “our political community is going into this election” in a strong position, PM Orbán said. According to the polls, all the government has to do in the next 5-6 months “is put in many hours of honest work every day” and focus on enabling people to make a living, he said. PM Orbán said that unlike at the Olympics, second place in politics did not come with a silver medal. “There’s only victory or defeat,” he said.
Photo credit: MTI