The first Summer University Festival, later called Tusványos Festival, was held in the summer of 1990 after the fall of communism in Romania and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe. Its original aim was to promote a Hungarian-Romanian dialogue in order to improve historically bad relations between the two nations. In 30 years it has become the most important event of the Hungarian community in Transylvania and a sort of public forum for them.
FIDESZ has been taking part in the meetings since the beginning and it has also become a tradition that the president of the party, Viktor Orbán, makes a speech to mark the occasion, either as the head of the opposition or as Prime Minister. Improving the relationship between RMDSZ, the strongest Hungarian party in Romania, and FIDESZ in recent years, has contributed to an even more relaxed and cordial atmosphere at Tusványos.
This year the Prime Minister spoke a lot about his generation born in the beginning of the sixties, the so-called ’FIDESZ generation,’ its mission, past challenges, and the ones that are still ahead of them. FIDESZ has been a major actor on the political scene in Hungary in the past three decades, evolving into a governing conservative party from a small liberal one. No doubt, it is the most successful political formation after the fall of communism, having a two-thirds majority in government for the past nine years. Its early rivals have disappeared or are on the verge of vanishing. All this is a remarkable political performance even if we know that the final, and most relevant, judgement will be given by History.
Similarly to his earlier speeches in the last few years, he presented his views about the political and economic future of the European Union and the continent. Analyzing the fight between the liberal forces and the conservative camp, where he repeatedly used the terms “illiberal,” “Christian Democrat,” or the “defenders of Christian freedom,” he concluded that for the time being the liberals were still stronger. However, he predicted that the generation of the sixties, i.e. the conservatives, standing up for the traditional family model, the nations of Europe, opposing gay marriage, migration, and a basic income for everyone would finally overcome the ’68’ generation. He also predicted that political polarization would increase in the future with views becoming more antagonistic.
As for the economy, he forecast a hard forthcoming decade for Europe with its economy slowing down and facing a more and more intensive competition from rising ’third world’ countries. A growing number of experts share this notion worldwide stressing that the European Union can’t avoid serious reforms. Its generous welfare system and comfortable way of living, as often mentioned, is endangered by the accelerating tendency of aging and those hundreds of millions in China, India, and elsewhere who are eager to work more than eight hours a day in order to leave poverty behind them. Besides, Islamic fundamentalism and the inadequate integration of mostly Islamic social groups, may question the minimally necessary homogeneity of European societies.
From a broader aspect, it seems that the question that Orbán is preoccupied by is how to maintain modernization, which means the permanency of constant change as a rule, and, at the same time to secure continuity, which requires a certain level of stability. Without stability, the advantages of developments in technology and in other fields of life may be lost. Preserving tradition as much as possible is an adequate means in order to achieve that double objective – this aspect is the dimension that the Left and the Ultra-liberals disregard in their calculations.
It is another question whether Orbán’s efforts to harmonize change and permanency will succeed. Proper analysts in history are not necessarily destined for victory.
Featured photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI.