Viktor Orbán participated in the Tranzit political and public policy conference in Tihany, at Lake Balaton, over the weekend, where he touched on a number of important topics in a discussion. Among other things, he spoke about the future of the Hungarian economy, the Hungarian nation, culture, and political struggles.
Being Hungarian is not an accident, but a task, a mission, probably one of the most beautiful missions in the world, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in Tihany on Friday. He highlighted that there is a culture based on a language which, apart from those who were born Hungarian, others do not understand and cannot maintain. The Hungarian language, the Hungarian culture, and with it the history of at least 1,100 years of statehood, and the possibility of our children becoming Hungarian for many thousands of years to come, will not disappear if we maintain it, he emphasized.
Two-thirds Majority and the Opposition
At the beginning of the discussion, the presenter recalled that Viktor Orbán was last at Tranzit in 2012, where he said – in similar economic circumstances – that the “two-thirds are standing like pins.” “Well, it is only fair to say that it has been standing still ever since. What is really important is that we cannot even see the end of it from here,” Prime Minister Orbán pointed out.
Speaking about the political scene in Hungary, he likened the difference between the governing parties and the opposition to professional and amateur football: in amateur football (the opposition), everyone runs to where the ball is, while the professionals (the governing parties) run to where the ball will be.
He added that there is a difference in perspective between Fidesz and the opposition, with opposition parties making a fuss over several policies, while the current big national governing party has a perspective in the short, medium, and long term, and has tactics and strategies.
Viktor Orbán (R) and discussion host Dániel Bohár, a Hungarian journalist. Photo: MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán
Orbán emphasized that the first thing that young people need to clarify is whether they think they have a homeland or whether they are living in the big world, in the West, in Europe, in attractive civilizations, and that being Hungarian is of little importance.
Do we think of ourselves as having become Hungarian by biological accident, or as having been born into something, as having been put into a situation, a context, a flow,”
he pointed out.
If we are in it, we must understand and answer the question of whether it is good to be in the Hungarian flow, whether there is some obligation or duty that arises from this fact. Once you have clarified this, you are on solid ground, and you can talk about gathering the ‘like-minded’ to form a large national army in the intellectual-political sense.
Hundreds were listening to the prime minister at the political festival. Photo: MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán
International Political Ideologies
Talking about former communists and the current Western mainstream, Orbán said that the worlds of liberals and communists are at first glance very far apart.
However, after the collapse of a communist regime, most communists become liberals, even though many would have thought this was impossible.
The dividing line, the prime minister said, is the understanding of man, of what is the essence of man, of what makes man man. There is a similarity in these issues, he pointed out, adding that in today’s world, liberals and the left with them are adamant that there is one important thing in life and that is “you are you.” Your freedom, your well-being, your time, your way of life, that is what matters and there is a big political camp in the western world for that, he explained.
However, there is a different understanding of man – this other camp, the right-wing, the conservative camp – saying that we are in the world to be happy, but there are some things in the world that are more important than ourselves.
Among these are family, country, God, and one’s relationship with Him. If they are more important than the individual, then we have to find answers to how one wants to serve them, the prime minister noted, underlining that this implies a different politics.
This dividing line is neither ideological nor political, but anthropological, Orbán stressed. On the conservative side, he identified two schools of thought in the political forces: one that organizes thinking about things more important than the individual along the lines of rational responses.
The other – the Christian Democrat – believes that there are sacred things that life or enemies want to turn into profane things, and that this must be prevented at all costs.
According to the prime minister, the liberals have reached a hegemonic position in the use of public discourse, language, and the means to shape thought. By the time the conservatives woke up, the other side had already organized itself internationally and at home, and the conservatives still had a decade’s backlog they could not overcome, he said. Orbán underlined that the liberal democrats were still far ahead of the conservative democrats – internationally too – in “framing political issues in an attractive mediatized way” and in developing language.
The prime minister also mentioned that in Europe there is a battle between the concept of nation-states and the concept of empire, and that we Hungarians have a chance of a good life in a Europe of sovereign states. While for Hungarians the existence of nation states is important, the left wants an imperial order. Both ideas are both European traditions, and as long as they are balanced, the European machine works well enough, he added.
Conservatives in Europe
Orbán said that the largest European right-wing alliance is not fulfilling its mission to fight empire-building and stand up for nation states and national independence. It is “slacking off” and instead of building and offering the people of Europe an alternative to empire-building, it is constantly cooperating, forming coalitions, adopting, and accepting the themes, descriptions, languages, and linguistic frameworks set by the left.
He emphasized that we must therefore try to force the moderate right to stop seeking cooperation with the left and to stand up for its own values.
It is a question for next year’s elections whether this right-wing unity will be achieved and, if so, whether it will win a majority over the left in the European Union.
In Orbán’s assessment, the reason why there is no internationally competitive, organized conservative force is that the left is cleverly exploiting the positional advantage it has gained, and we internationally organized conservatives are unfortunately not talented or persistent enough and do not put enough effort into overcoming the disadvantage.
War in Ukraine
Asked about the war in Ukraine, he said that hundreds of thousands of lives have already been lost, so the most important thing is to stop it. However, it cannot be done in the way the liberal community suggests, which is to say that it cannot start with a peace plan, he continued. A ceasefire must come first, he emphasized, adding that then there will be time for a peace plan.
The prime minister called the globalization of the war a mistake, saying that it should have been localized, a position that only Hungary had taken.
He also said that the West’s strategy of Ukrainians fighting and giving their lives, “while we give the money, information, and weapons,” was not working. According to him, this strategy would not defeat Russia, but there was no new plan.
The State of the Hungarian Economy
Hungary wants to be rich, strong, and respectable, the prime minister highlighted. He added that a plan for that was already in place in 2010, and the country is moving in that direction, but it will take another ten years. The plan is being implemented by a large part of the country, and we are stronger because, while 3.6 million people were working in 2010, now 4.8 million are working.
Orbán also noted that we must not allow ourselves to be cut off from the Eastern economies, from Russian energy sources, from Eastern markets. These are things that we have to fight to maintain on a daily basis, but we are doing it as part of a grand plan.
Via MTI, Featured photo via MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán