Statement by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán following his meeting with Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally

26 October 2021, Budapest

I also greet you respectfully, and especially Mme. Marine Le Pen. France is a great state and a great nation, and we are always honoured to receive a visit from a leading politician from that country. Thank you very much, Madame President, for visiting us.

I owe you further thanks in addition to this. In recent years, there have been several attempts in the European Parliament to crucify Hungary. There have been Members of the European Parliament and parties there that have stood up for us, and there have been those that have not. Some have also betrayed us – but this is an optimistic press conference, so let’s not talk about that now. I have never before spoken to Mme. Le Pen, and never about any Hungarian issue in particular. Nevertheless, every single time that Hungary has been attacked in the European Parliament, and these attacks have been unjust, Mme. Le Pen personally and her party have always stood up for Hungary. So, as the leader of the Hungarian government, on behalf of Hungary I must also thank Mme. Le Pen for the stand she has taken and the support she has given – not only to the Hungarian governing party, but to the whole of Hungary and to all Hungarians. Thank you very much, Madame President.

I would now like to give you an account of today’s meeting. First of all, we reviewed the situation in the European Union. We have concluded that we are facing major challenges, that the EU’s competitiveness in the world economy is declining, and that its political influence and power in the international arena is inadequate. The EU has been unable to deal with the worsening migration pressures exerted on it, which constitute an open wound, a constant burden and challenge for us. And now at EU level we are unable to deal with escalating energy prices. We have seen that traditional party structures across Europe are undergoing transformation, as elections in major European countries have shown in recent months. We are opposed to the creation of any kind of European superstate, and therefore in the midst of this transformation we ourselves want to adapt to changing party structures and cooperate with each other.

We are saddened to see that ideological pressure within the European Union has reached unprecedented levels, that the promotion of migration and the “open society” has reached unprecedented levels, and that the Commission has been transformed from the guardian of the treaties into an ideological power centre. I told Mme. President that for us this is not unfamiliar: there was once a “Brezhnev Doctrine”. The Brezhnev Doctrine is one of those extremely ugly terms which I can describe to our French guests as follows: back in the Soviet Union’s world system it meant that if a member state deviated from the centrally imposed ideology, then the other members of the socialist camp were given the right to interfere in the internal affairs of that nonconformist state. This was the Brezhnev Doctrine, which formed the basis for the 1968 intervention in Czechoslovakia. So we are familiar with centres of power which do not recognise pluralist freedoms of ideology and opinion, but which want to force us into an ideological framework – and which feel justified in intervening if we deviate from that framework. The form of the intervention is undoubtedly important: intervention with Soviet tanks is far more brutal than a rule of law procedure. But this is still intervention; and we are seeing a modernised, European Union form of this Brezhnev Doctrine, now experienced on a daily basis not only by Poland, but also by Hungary.

I would like to point out that Mme. Le Pen deserves great credit for making her political camp a critical and unavoidable factor in opposition to a federal Europe, migration and globalisation. In fact, Mme. President, I would say that the camp of what in Hungary we call the Right – except in France they do not use the word in that way, so I am cautious about using it – or the camp of sovereigntists has become an inescapable force in European politics. So we also want to see a Europe based on nation states.

And finally we talked about the issue of cooperation. On this our opinion is that what is today to the right of the European Left – let’s call it the Right – is in great need of renewal. And this renewal can only happen if we forge alliances with one another. We are interested in this idea, because we have reverted to being “bachelors”: European political bachelors. It was no longer possible to remain in the European People’s Party, as it is so enmeshed in the web of mainstream left-wing ideology that we had no place there. And so we have an interest in forming a new grouping. We have already taken the decisive step in this direction: I would like to remind you that at the beginning of July a joint declaration was signed by fifteen European parties, including Fidesz and the National Rally. This is an extremely important document, because it will form the basis for all future cooperation. Being able to put our views together in a joint statement has broken the ice. Since then we have been building cooperation, and today’s meeting is an important step in that process. We would like to see this process speed up in the coming weeks and months.

At the end of our meeting we talked about the fact that in Italy our friend Salvini is being subjected to an extremely unjust trial. In Hungary we have never made a secret of the fact that Mr. Salvini is our hero: as Minister of the Interior he proved that migration can be stopped, even at sea; and we believe that people in European politics like Federal Secretary Salvini deserve recognition and respect, not legal proceedings directed against them. So we stand in solidarity with Federal Secretary Salvini.

Thank you very much for your attention.