Internal Affairs / State of the Nation Address – There is no pardon for paedophile crimes

State of the Nation Address – There is no pardon for paedophile crimes

There is no pardon for paedophile crimes, and so the resignation in the clemency case was the right thing to do, and it makes us stronger, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated in his state of the nation address delivered on Saturday in the Castle Garden Bazaar in Budapest. He spoke about the prospective reinforcement of the Hungarian child protection system, Hungary’s green transition and the fact that Parliament could ratify Sweden’s NATO accession at the beginning of its spring session.

“Children are sacred, any harm caused to their detriment must result in the severest possible punishment. There is no room for pardon. Therefore, the resignation was the right thing to do, and it makes us stronger,” the Prime Minister said in his 25th state of the nation address in connection with the resignations of departing head of state Katalin Novák and former Justice Minister Judit Varga.

He said 2024 could not have started any worse after the president of the republic had tendered her resignation to Parliament.

“This is like a nightmare. It takes its toll on us all,” Mr Orbán said, describing the departure of the head of state as the right decision, but a great loss for Hungary. He thanked the president and the former minister for their hard work “with an upset heart, on behalf of us all.”

Commenting on the debate surrounding the resignations, he said “there is more dignity in the little fingers of the two departing ladies” than there is in all the leaders of the Left combined.

Regarding Mrs Novák, he said a well-respected president held in the highest esteem who tirelessly worked – what’s more, fought – for her country, the Hungarian people and their families, and represented Hungary in the wider world in a befitting manner, has left us. He stressed that everyone had seen Mrs Novák in her position as president of the republic “as someone who was fitting.” “She embodied the better self of the Hungarian people, their good characteristics. A mother, a kind and highly qualified person who wanted to prove her aptitude not against men and not by their standards. This has always appealed to me,” the Prime Minister praised the resigning head of state who, in his view, showed “us men in her own natural way that the realm of women’s feelings and thoughts is essential and indispensable in every walk of life, including in politics.”

He also said the reason for the resignation of the head of state is that she granted a presidential pardon to a person convicted of covering up a crime committed to the detriment of children, and the vast majority of Hungarians did not accept and rejected her clemency decision. He indicated that they had learnt from the reasoning of her decision that it was the president’s decision that had upset the unity of the nation, and so she herself was no longer able to restore it.

“The upset balance can only be restored, the towering wave of indignation can only be tamed, the nation can only be reunited on the issue of the protection of families and children with the resignation of the president and the entry into office of a new president,” he stated.

Regarding the role of former Justice Minister Judit Varga, he said she countersigned the decision of the president of the republic in accordance with the relevant constitutional customs, in continuation of the uninterrupted practice of 25 years. “Her departure is an inevitable and – I believe – unfair consequence of the laws of politics,” he concluded.

He also stressed in connection with the case that good people, too, make bad decisions; this happens to the best of us as well. He said if there were a time machine and they could fly back to the past, they would surely do so to rectify the mistake, but this is not possible, and so the task falls upon the government “to relocate the disjointed time,” to restore the moral order and to remedy the situation that has evolved also legally.

He further warned that the iron rule of modern politics lay in humility, “in politics you’re always only a blow away from the floor,” and so only careful consideration and vigilant caution can help.

“The service of the nation also requires personal humility, you must be aware that no matter how high up you are, you can never be smart enough on your own. There is no safe space, mistakes can be made even in the highest office,” he said.

At the same time, he observed that a political mistake is annoying enough if there is an explanation for it, “and all the more so if there isn’t.”

In his view, what has elevated the outrage over the clemency decision to anger on the Right is that it was not a decision adopted in a complex situation; “it was an unforced error.”

For the Right this is as clear as day; in the case of crimes involving paedophilia, there is no pardon,

he laid down.

However, that which has fanned the flames of anger should also restrain them, he said in continuation, as the resignation serves as both satisfaction and an example for the country. It has given Hungary a chance to come out of our troubles the stronger for them. “And we will,” he added.

The Prime Minister said the Hungarian child protection system must be reinforced, the legal acts designed to protect children must be revised and supplemented, all the way from the Constitution to the relevant ministerial decrees.

In connection with the clemency case, Mr Orbán said “the ordeal of the victims compels us” to reinforce the management and oversight of our child protection institutions as well as the rules and restrictions applicable to the people working there. These must be submitted to the National Assembly in the form of a new child protection legislative package, he added.

“The hypocritical and two-faced Left can then do their soldiering there. There, they will have a chance to fight on,” he said.

The Prime Minister described the election of a new president of the republic as a pressing task. He asked the government-party groups of Parliament to institute the procedure leading to the election of a new president on the day of the departure of incumbent president of the republic Katalin Novák.

“We should minimise the transitional period as befits a large and strong government party,” he added.

In his state of the nation address, Mr Orbán also spoke about the fact that “we succeeded in zigzagging our way out of the extra difficult year of 2023 unscathed.”

The Prime Minister said for five years we have been compelled to live and to work under extraordinary circumstances and trying pressure, for five years now the entire country and every family has been working hard “to protect that which we have previously achieved.”

In his view, we have managed to protect that which is the most important: jobs; in fact, never before have there been as many people in employment in Hungary as there are now. The employment rate currently stands at 75 per cent, he said, adding that they want to and they will reach 85 per cent.

The Prime Minister observed that according to their estimates, in Hungary there are at least another 300,000 persons fit to enter the realm of work, and every year, more and more people are coming back home than people going abroad to work as guest workers.

Additionally, they have also succeeded in protecting pensions and in giving back the 13th monthly pension which the Left took away from the people, he stated.

He further said despite the difficulties, also in 2023 “we managed to bring Hungarians living beyond the borders closer to us; after all, we are a national government.” Three bridges have been built on the River Ipoly, there are ten railway services a day between Szeged and Szabadka (Subotica), and there are three flights a week between Budapest and Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca), he listed.

Rushing to the aid of the central bank, we have managed to push inflation down from a record high 25 per cent to below 4 per cent, to keep the deficit of the budget on a downward trend, to raise the minimum wage by 15 per cent and the minimum wage of skilled workers by 10 per cent, he listed, adding that “we can’t be dissatisfied” with these results.

Regarding the goals for 2024, he recalled 2019 – the last “year of peace” – when inflation was just three per cent, the economy grew by five per cent, the deficit of the budget remained below two per cent, the sovereign debt was well below 70 per cent and was continuously decreasing, 21,000 new homes were built and almost 90,000 children were born. “We were at such heights when COVID struck, and this is the path we must climb back onto in 2024,” he stressed.

The bookmakers are betting on Hungary at any rate, he said, adding that as it is “it won’t be a walk in the park.”

Mr Orbán said after we have found our way back to the path “we were forced to abandon in 2019,” we must also take into consideration the fact that the world has changed much in the interim. In the economy, the era of green energy is no longer knocking on our door; it has kicked the door in.

The future belongs to green energy and those who are able to quickly and reasonably change over, meaning to adapt, he stated.

He said the stability of Hungarian politics is known and recognised worldwide; the government parties have a two-thirds majority in Parliament, the government itself is united, and from the people’s point of view, the meaning and advantage of this stability lies in the very fact that it enables us to adapt to new circumstances as fast as lightning.

He pointed out that if we keep our wits about us, if we react fast enough and if we use our strength well, then in the whole of Europe we can adapt to change the fastest. He said this is an unbeatable competitive advantage, “this is why so many are up in arms about it.”

According to the Prime Minister, green transition was just what Hungary needed, “we can kill two birds with one stone.” The country will become more liveable and can finally release itself from the energy dependence that has gnawed at it ever since the disintegration of the Monarchy, he stated.

In Mr Orbán’s view, green transition requires two things: green energy must be generated and must be stored. Among the plans, he mentioned the construction of Paks II and the extension of the lifespan of Paks I, “we will build our solar power plants of all sizes at top speed,” the Prime Minister highlighted.

The world has already realised that without nuclear energy it is impossible to abandon fossil fuels, while Brussels has in turn resigned itself to having to declare – sooner or later – nuclear power plants, too, green energy sources.

Mr Orbán took the view that our solar power plant building programme “is galloping like an uncontrollable horse; slowly but surely, we will have to restrain it and rein it in.”

We have broken all plans and records. We already have a solar capacity of more than 5,600 megawatts. There are 255,000 households in Hungary which operate mini family power plants. As a result, we already generate 15 per cent of our energy consumption with solar panels, he informed members of his audience.

The Prime Minister also spoke about the facts that our backup power plants will be built soon, we have already connected our electricity networks together with our neighbours, and our natural gas connection has a single missing element in the direction of Slovenia. Energy independence is only a few years away, he said in summary.

Those who say that there will not be enough energy for the development of the Hungarian economy and our industry strategy do not know what they are talking about, the Prime Minister said.

According to Mr Orbán, the storage of the generated green energy is “a tougher nut to crack.” Additionally, technology itself is making huge strides, but in this, we Hungarian are at the vanguard of Europe; in fact, we are at the vanguard of the world.

He indicated that it is only a question of a few years before energy storage devices become present in every facet of our lives, including our personal lives. In our cars, in our homes, at our workplaces, in factories, in industrial facilities, the Prime Minister stressed.

He pointed out that the Hungarian government had set aside an enormous amount, hundreds of billions of forints for this purpose.

He also warned that the introduction of every new technology is accompanied by exciting debates. At times, we also hear a few “appalling arguments” such as that we do not have enough water despite the fact that everyone knows that present-day Hungary is a large pool; it is for us alone to decide how much water we keep here at home, he observed.

At the same time, the people’s legitimate environmental and security considerations must also be taken into account; in fact, they must be given priority, and we must only operate plants that adhere to European standards, he stressed.

The Prime Minister highlighted that for the first time since time immemorial we are not mere followers of a technological revolution, but its global leaders; with this we will also save our car manufacturing plants.

In the western world, many car manufacturing plants are being closed down and relocated. “We must avoid this in Hungary. Just imagine Győr without Audi or Kecskemét without Mercedes,” he warned.

In Győr, a ten-year car manufacturing record has been broken, in Kecskemét we have started making high-end electric cars, in Debrecen we will manufacture electric cars which are not yet available on the world market. The world’s largest electric car manufacturer will bring its first European factory to Szeged, and the residents of Szentgotthárd, too, can finally relax because the production of new electric motors will start in their plant soon, he listed.

He added that the production value of the Hungarian automotive industry is now above 13,000 billion forints; it provides a living for hundreds of thousands of families, and we have accumulated enormous professional and engineering knowledge.

There are a few things in which we are successful to the highest world standards, such as the pharmaceutical industry, the production of sowing seeds, the food industry, infocommunications and car production, the Prime Minister said, adding that therefore, green transition in the automotive industry in Hungary is an enormous technological and political achievement. He added that we are not so rich as to be able to afford to surrender any of our industries.

We have become an unavoidable political, economic, cultural and trade point of gravitation in the Carpathian Basin, he stated.

He promised that 2024 “will again be a year of success for Hungary,” despite the fact that 2023 was a year of failures for the European Union which “drags us down, pulls us back, it’s a deadweight we’re compelled to carry.”

He took the view that ever more trouble is coming our way from Brussels. Brussels’ Ukraine strategy has failed spectacularly. Not only on the battlefield where the situation is nothing short of disastrous, but in international politics, too. He highlighted that we had said in vain that this was a war between two Slavic peoples, and not ours, “Brussels threw itself into the conflict head first.” He took the view that Hungary had remained on its own with its pro-peace position the same as with its anti-migration policy earlier, and we would be right on the issue of the war the same as we had been right on the issue of migration. It is a tragedy that hundreds of thousands of people have had to and will have to die until then, he observed.

Mr Orbán confirmed that Hungary’s position remains unchanged: “we will not allow ourselves to be dragged into the war,” we will not supply weapons, even if there are great powers which do not like that. “We could even say that the Brussels crisis management is ingenious in its own way; it’s brilliant for America, not for anyone else,” he said.

The exertion of pressure has reached a level where ambassadors go to Parliament to check whether the Dollar Left is behaving well, he observed, adding that this is not a good tactic because the Hungarians are like a good espresso, “it takes high pressure to press the best out of ourselves.”

“Sooner or later people will realise everywhere that everyone is better-off if they leave us alone,” he said.

At the same time, he said it is good news that the dispute with Sweden is finally coming to an end. They have taken important steps with the Swedish prime minister to rebuild trust, and so Parliament could ratify Sweden’s NATO accession at the beginning of its spring session.

He also said the United States is becoming ever more reluctant, they are financing Ukraine less and less enthusiastically, and an increasingly large part of the burden is falling on the very Europe whose economy “has fallen sick.” “The stakes are high,” we will all be struck down, and the entire continent could succumb.

Therefore, in his view, it should be carved into stone that collective borrowing is no longer an acceptable option for Hungary. He indicated that in this matter, too, he is asking for the assistance of the government-party parliamentary groups.

He further stated that – in his opinion – Brussels had abandoned the European people. There has never before been such a distance between Brussels politics and the interests and will of the European people, he added. We need change in Brussels, he pointed out, adding that the  poet Attila József would say “that’s not me shouting, it’s the earth that roars.”

However, this change will not happen of its own accord, he said, it must be forced. “Europe must take Brussels back,” let there finally be some Europeans, too, among the Brusselites.

The new agricultural regulations and the opening of the market to Ukraine have landed the whole of Europe’s agriculture in an impossible situation, the Prime Minister pointed out. He said “instead of healthy, locally produced foodstuffs, they’re dumping artificial meat and poor-quality GMO products on us.”

He added that all the farmers demonstrating throughout Europe want is that mandatory legal acts should not be written by “climate fanatics running up and down Brussels corridors and crazy sofa scientists.”

Mr Orbán said “I only have bad news about migration, too.” Even the blind can see that migration is a security risk, and is additionally a hotbed of anti-Semitism, and turns the roots of European societies out of their European soil, he pointed out.

He said “they themselves enticed migrants in, they sat there in Brussels and Berlin with candy floss in their hands, and then they were surprised when they were swarmed by wasps.”

He asked: If someone visits the West in twenty years’ time, will they still find Europe there, or something completely different? He added that it was time to face reality; that European competitiveness has buckled due to the war, the sanctions and the development of blocs, and a deterioration in the living standards of the middle classes will be a fatal consequence of this, “and then it will also be over for democracy.”

Instead of an objective, merit-based procedure, enlargement has become a mere communications means serving current political objectives in the interest of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Brussels has abandoned the Balkans entirely because the money is needed for Ukraine, he said. In his view, it has been revealed regarding European values and the rule of law procedures that these are “mere political batons” which Brussels does not hesitate to use against anyone who may have objections.

The Prime Minister highlighted that 2024 could be a game-changing year. “A super election year” when people in Brussels, America, India and in a dozen other places will decide what leadership they want to carry on with.

From all this, what is important for Hungary is that great opportunities are opening up before us, he said. “The stage of world politics will present a completely different picture to what we see now at the beginning of the year, and God willing, Hungary’s room for manoeuvre will not diminish, but will broaden to an extent not seen for a long time,” Mr Orbán added.

He pointed out that while we cannot interfere with the elections of other countries, we would very much like President Donald Trump to return to the presidential seat, and to restore peace here in Europe’s eastern half. It would be time for another ‘Make America Great Again’ presidency in the United States, he observed.

“Reviving greatness in America and Europe, connectivity, according to our hopes, strengthening Slovak, Austrian, Serbian and Hungarian regional cooperation, and a pro-sovereignty turnaround in Brussels. This is what we would like to see under the Christmas tree this year,” the Prime Minister said.

He also highlighted that the Brussels bureaucrats will not pull Europe out of the present crisis, there is no point in wasting any energy on their conviction, “there is no point in flogging a dead horse.”

In his view, only a new European Right – of which we are also a part – can bring real change about. At the same time, he warned, we should avoid “throwing the baby out with the bath water,” “the new Right should be a European alternative, not an alternative to Europe.” “This is how we should look upon the European elections ahead, and this is how we should fight for victory,” he said.

Mr Orbán concluded his speech as usual: “Hungary before everything else, the Almighty above us all. Come on Hungary, come on Hungarians.”


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