Viktor Orbán gave a speech at the anniversary celebrations of the prestigious Swiss conservative weekly Weltwoche, which turned 90 years old this year. “Weltwoche is not like a mainstream medium, and I am not like a mainstream politician,” he declared at the event.
The prime minister noted that European politics would be poorer without Weltwoche. While the general trend is towards progressive liberalism,
…it is reassuring that there are still places in Europe where one can speak freely,” such as Switzerland.
He noted that elections will be held in the European Union next year and the balance of power there will also have an impact on Switzerland, affecting, for instance, the country’s participation in the common market. He added that as EU Council President in the second half of next year, Hungary will have the opportunity to shape the EU agenda, including the possibility to have a greater influence on the development of EU policy than at present.
Viktor Orbán warned that
Europe is not in control of itself today, its share of world GDP is declining and by 2030, only Germany will be in the bottom ten, in last place.
He said it was an important question whether Europe would succeed in preserving its strategic sovereignty. He noted that “Europe’s fate today is chained to the United State’s,” meaning that if Washington loses ground, we will also suffer the consequences.
The Hungarian politician pointed out that Europe has also lost its great politicians.
When the generation of German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French President Jacques Chirac left politics, the EU lost the ability to have leaders capable of decisive action,
He added that while there is a lack of strong politicians, bureaucrats are everywhere. “Former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has proclaimed that the Brussels Commission has become a political body. But this is not what such an institution is really good at, only politicians can make the changes Europe needs,” he said. In his opinion, the political leadership of the EU should be provided by the European Council, made up of the heads of state and government of the Member States, but the central institutions are currently characterized by a progressive liberalism imported from the United States.
Instead of progressive liberal hegemony, Hungary has a pluralist, sovereign position, and “the good news is that it works,”
the Prime Minister said, recalling that he himself has been in politics for 33 years, 17 of which he has spent in government, making him the most experienced leader in the EU.
The podium discussion followed the speech in a packed room in Zurich, and was moderated by Roger Köppel, the editor-in-chief of Weltwoche, founded 90 years ago. Among many other illustrious guests were this year’s Hungarian Nobel Prize winner Ferenc Krausz and former Czech Prime Minister Václav Klaus, whom Orbán greeted as the “intellectual standard-bearer” of European conservative politics.
Among other things, the prime minister stressed the existence of Swiss-Hungarian friendship. He thanked Switzerland for taking in Hungarian refugees in 1956, and the refugees themselves for having earned the respect of the Alpine country.
Via MTI, Featured image: MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Benko Vivien Cher