Orbán on Western Europe: There Is Liberalism but Not Democracy
Gábor Sarnyai 2018.07.30.
In a keynote speech, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said that every European country has the right to protect its Christian culture and the traditional family model, as well as the right to reject immigration. He also mentioned that, in the April general election, Fidesz received a two-thirds majority and with it “authorisation to build a new era”. The process of Hungarian unification has now turned into one of nation-building.
Orban insisted that Europe’s current leaders were “inadequate” and incapable of protecting the continent from migration. He said the European elite had become bankrupted, and the symbol of this bankruptcy was the European Commission, whose days, he insisted, were numbered.
Addressing a forum at the 29th Balvanyos Summer University in Baile Tusnad (Tusnadfurdo), in central Romania, on Saturday, Orban said the commission’s job was to be impartial and to guarantee the EU’s four freedoms. Instead, the commission has become biased “because it sides with the liberals”, Orban said. “It is biased because it works against central Europe and is not a friend of freedom; it works to build a European Socialism instead of freedom.”
“The exclusively liberal European elite denies its roots and is building an open society instead of a Europe based on Christianity,” he added. The prime minister said there was an alternative to liberal democracy and he dismissed the idea that Christian Democracy could also be liberal, saying that Christian democracy was “illiberal”.
The crowd at Tusványos.
Liberal democracy stands for multiculturalism and it undertakes the model of immigration and a flexible definition of the family. “Christian Democracy, on the other hand, gives priority to Christian culture, anti-immigration and the Christian family.” The result of next year’s EP elections would result in waving goodbye to liberal democracy and to “the elite of the 1968”. Instead of the 1968 generation, the time has come for anti-communist, Christian, nationally committed generation of 1990, he proclaimed. Meanwhile, Orban said the EU was currently pursuing a primitive policy towards Russia and “a nuanced policy is needed instead”. The security of Hungary and the whole of the Carpathian Basin, as well as that of Europe, depends on whether Turkey, Israel and Egypt are stable enough to stop the influx of Muslims, he added.
Orban set out five principles that were necessary for central Europe to occupy a “worthy place” in Europe. Every European country had the right to protect its Christian culture and to reject “the ideology of multiculturalism”. Also, the traditional family model and the principle that “every child has the right to a mother and a father” must be upheld. Further, central European countries have the right to protect their nationally strategic sectors and markets. Countries also have a fundamental right to defend their borders and to reject immigration, he said.
The principle of “one nation, one vote” on the most important issues should be insisted upon, he said, adding that this principle cannot be bypassed in the EU. “We central Europeans hold that there is life beyond globalisation and that central Europe follows the path of an alliance of free nations,” the prime minister said. Orban declared that immigration would be the single serious issue in next year’s European parliamentary elections. He linked the outcome of the EP elections to the fate of its leadership, saying that when European citizens decide on the issue of immigration, they will have also passed judgement on the European elite and whether it has handled immigration properly.
“There is liberalism but there is no democracy,” he said, adding that this assertion was supported by a general tendency in western Europe to curb freedom of expression and introduce censorship. The prime minister said that after eight successive years of a Fidesz government, in the April general election it received a two-thirds majority and with it “authorisation to build a new era”. The process of Hungarian unification has now turned into one of nation-building, he added. Hungarians have shown they are able to understand complex situations, he said. “If need be, we have the will to decide on our destiny and move as a nation.”
“From Szeklerland, I can say that Hungarians from beyond the border have stood up for Hungarians of the motherland,” he said, adding that every vote was an undertaking of responsibility for Hungary. He said Fidesz’s two-thirds majority won in 2010 had entitled the government to build a new system with a Hungarian model for the economy and a new constitutional order based on national and Christian foundations. In 2014, it was similarly endorsed to stabilise this system, he added. Following the outcome of this year’s election, Orban said it was time to build a new era and to embed the political system into this new cultural era. “A new intellectual and cultural approach is needed,” he said.
Based on this stability, the government has set goals that could only have been dreamed of in the past, Orban said. He declared that by 2030 Hungary would be among the top five countries in the EU for the quality of life. Further, it will have stopped its declining population, he said. Motorways will have reached all its borders and it will have created energy independence, he continued, adding that will have built up its defense forces. “Thirty years ago, we thought that Europe is our future, we now think we are the future of Europe,” the prime minister said, concluding his speech.
Fidesz will not leave European People’s Party
He noted, however, that the EPP contained parties with views that were far apart and bridging them would be “extremely hard” to do. Fidesz represents the EPP’s Christian Democratic platform, he said, adding “we can be strong” by combining their forces together even at the cost of making internal compromises. Talking about regional matters, the prime minister insisted that Serbia, just like Montenegro, “belonged” to central Europe rather than to the Balkans. Hungary, he said, must do everything possible to ensure they can join the European Union as soon as possible.
Asked whether support for Hungary’s ruling parties had peaked, Orban said he calculated that between 63 and 65 percent of voters had taken part in some sort of “joint action” in the past and would consider voting for the Fidesz-led alliance in the future. Meanwhile, the prime minister said the government was bound to consider both the motherland and the entire nation when it came to policymaking and nation-building. He said this is why the government had launched an economic development programme which encompasses the national community in Transylvania, too, and he pledged to continue it. He added that it was also in Hungary’s interest that Romania should be strong and stable.
Opposition parties slam Orban’s Baile Tusnad speech
Commenting on the speech, the spokesman of leftist opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) said Orban’s speech was a “declaration of war on Europe, Hungarians and freedom”. Orban created a picture of a Europe torn by a political and cultural conflict between nation states and regions, Sandor Ronai told a press conference on Saturday. Voters in the European parliamentary elections in 2019 will choose between “a Europe that follows the worldview and nationalism of the 1930s or the united, strong European approach of [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel and [French President Emmanuel] Macron,” he said. “We do not need less Europe, but more of it … If Hungary wants to live and prosper in peace, Orban must go.”
Conservative Jobbik’s spokesman told MTI that Orban’s speech showed that he prioritised his own European political ambitions over Hungary’s fortunes. Orban “has indicated more than once” that he sees himself as a potential leader of Europe, party spokesman Adam Mirkoczki said. Orban, he added, was cynical to declare that western countries are not democratic. It is Orban who has dismantled freedom of speech and the press, as well as abolishing public institutions which are the bedrock of democracy, he insisted. Several “allegedly independent institutions” are “stuffed with party soldiers”, he said.
Ádám Mirkóczki Via: Eho tv
Socialist leader Bertalan Toth said that the Christian democracy outlined by Orban in Baile Tusnad was “far removed from Hungarian reality”. In a video uploaded to the party’s Facebook page, he said that tens of thousands of families faced eviction, health care was in a state of “devastation” and the situation of FX loan-holders was still unresolved. Furthermore, Hungary’s public media “spouts propaganda” and entrepreneurs connected to Orban are “fed public funds from the EU and Hungary”, Toth said.
The opposition Parbeszed party said in a statement that Orban “only offered” Hungary isolation and division along cultural divisions instead of “openness to explore the world around us”. Richard Barabas said that Parbeszed backed Fidesz’s goal to make Hungary prosper but the route the ruling party was taking was a bad one.
Laszlo Lorant Keresztes, the co-leader of the green LMP party, said in a statement that the European Union’s “severe operational problems” have to be addressed. “What’s really at stake in the coming period” is whether Hungary can make changes that make the bloc more effective, Keresztes said. The migration crisis is one of the most serious of these problems, he said. But the government should also take steps against a strengthening Russian influence, he said.