Unity is our answer to the world falling apart, the Prime Minister stressed, suggesting that the essence of the coming years’ nation policy concerning communities beyond the borders should lie in the strengthening of Hungarian cooperation while “the world around us is falling to pieces and disintegrating.” He took the view that the European Union, too, is heading for disintegration because it fails to implement its own decisions.
He indicated that this year was not easy. Hungary was unable to offer more than to maintain the institutions and programmes created with a view to supporting Hungarian communities beyond the borders; there was no scope for expansion. He pointed out that in 2024 and 2025, we must return to growth and strengthening, and the necessary funds will be available for this. He said the raising of the minimum wage, too, shows that “life is beginning to return to the Hungarian economy, we are succeeding in towing the Hungarian economy out of recession,” and this also gives an opportunity for relaunching the Hungarian development programmes beyond the borders.
In the context of migration, the Prime Minister said we must maintain the position that the Hungarian people alone have the right to say who is allowed to stay in the territory of Hungary and how. Regarding the Muslim immigrants coming to Europe, Mr Orbán said the leaders of Western European countries are counting on the prospect that as they have secularized traditional European Christian communities, so will they be able to secularise those coming from different religious backgrounds. However, those people do not want to become secularised at all, they feel at home in a different kind of life philosophy which they additionally see as superior to secularised European life, he pointed out.
Therefore, the chances of real integration – concordantly with the previous Hungarian belief – are very slim, so much so that to build an immigration policy on these foundations is nothing short of tempting providence. He stressed that Hungary must do nothing of the kind, but must tighten the rules because the immigration legislation dating from 2007 was conceived before the “migration inflation,” and so it “doesn’t seal properly.” We must create a transparent, clear and enforceable system, or else westerners will sweep us away, he warned.
He indicated that while the new EU migration package has some reasonable elements, on the whole, it cannot be accepted because it continues to count on the distribution of migrants, Member States would be required to pay if they refuse to take over immigrants, and Hungary, too, would be required to create migrant camps suitable for providing accommodation for thousands of people. Therefore, he believes that in the next six months a major conflict is expected to emerge in the EU on the issue of migration.
Evaluating the situation of Hungarian communities in the Carpathian Basin, the Prime Minister said the elections in Slovakia have revived an old dilemma because as the Hungarians were unable to pass the parliamentary threshold for the umpteenth time, the question has repeatedly emerged as to whether politics on an ethnic basis has a future, in particular, in light of the devastating demographic indicators.
He pointed out that the Hungarian government’s position was that as long as there was an ethnic basis, ethnicity-based politics, too, had a future in the Carpathian Basin. At the same time, it is “our common responsibility” to ensure that there is an ethnic basis. He added that we must reconsider how the Hungarian government can meaningfully help the Hungarians living in Upper Hungary (Slovakia).
He sent his best wishes to President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania Hunor Kelemen, stressing that 2024 will be a difficult year because there will be as many as four elections in Romania. He said fully honouring the stringent rules of international law and interstate relations, Hungary is ready to help the Hungarians living there wherever it can.
Mr Orbán described the situation of the Hungarians of Transcarpathia as the most difficult and most painful point of Hungarian life in the Carpathian Basin, adding that this is where he sees the least chance of “the clouds dispersing in the short term.” At this point in time, there is almost nothing Hungary could offer Ukraine because they are pursuing a path that “leads nowhere,” and with this “we don’t want to provide assistance,” he stated.
He underlined that therefore they had no intention of changing Hungary’s foreign policy regarding Ukraine in the future, but he said “we’re doing so with the worst possible feelings.” We are able to provide humanitarian assistance, but refuse to take any step that would take us closer to the war, he confirmed.
In his opinion, it is evident that the Western world’s strategy related to Ukraine that stands on three legs – that Ukraine will win on the frontline, the Russians will lose and this will lead to an internal political change in Moscow – has failed. He indicated that at the latest EU summit he proposed that they hold “a period of reflection,” and admit that Plan A has failed. He highlighted that rather than abandoning Ukraine, they must work out a Plan B which is better for the Ukrainians, is better for the Hungarians living there, and is also more advantageous from the viewpoint of European security as a whole than the continuation of the present hopeless struggle.
He stressed that the Hungarians of Transcarpathia can rely on Hungary’s support in every respect. At the same time, he said it is regrettable that Ukraine – a country engaged in a bloody, savage, patriotic war – still has the time and attention to “vex” the Hungarians. He said it is no exaggeration to say that from the viewpoint of the use of and education in the Hungarian language, the situation was better in the Soviet Union.
In his address, Mr Orbán also highlighted that today Hungary is compelled to engage in fights with the European Union which do not help Hungary’s development. The Prime Minister said there will be two major debates in the coming months, the outcomes of which will greatly determine Hungary’s scope for manoeuvre for decades to come.
One of them is about whether to maintain unanimous decision-making that has already been “limited” in a certain sense, but still exists on important issues, or to switch to majority decision-making. The bigger Member States urge the latter, he observed, adding that this would require the amendment of the Treaties which would in turn require a unanimous decision. As long as there is a country that resists, there will be no such thing, Mr Orbán said, stating that this is taboo for Hungary; Hungary regards unanimous decision-making as the last guarantee for the protection of national interests.
In the next 120 years, we are not likely to have a parliament in Hungary, regardless of its composition, that would vote for this, he said. The Prime Minister observed that the organisation’s power structure between federalists and pro-sovereignty forces was in balance until Britain’s departure, it then tipped over, and the representatives of the other tradition created new instruments within seconds.
He pointed out that if the British were still in the EU, terms such as ‘rule of law procedure,’ ‘conditionality’ and ‘economic governance’ could not have come into being. He added that the British had left, and so the Central European countries did not have the ability to block these decisions. Instruments are being conceived one after the other which are purely ideologically driven.
The Prime Minister also said a new world power and world economic order has come into being from which Europe has been pushed out, and in which it has lost its old significance. There are two Suns in the sky, and neither are European, he said, pointing out that China with an economic growth that will enable it to overtake the western world slowly but surely will negotiate the deals with the United States. He took the view that there are two schools regarding the response to this development: one holds that we should compete, we should trade, we should try to strengthen ourselves, while the other stands for defence and isolation, and holds that preserving what we already have is a fine enough achievement.
He stressed that, following from its history and structure of industry, Hungary must cooperate and trade “with the whole world,” and so instead of isolation, we would be much better off occupying a place in the camp of the countries that support connectivity.
He also said in 1990 six of the world’s ten largest economies were western countries. However, according to projections up to 2030, Britain and France will be relegated from the ranks of the world’s ten largest economies, and only a single European country will remain in the top ten – Germany, in tenth position. This is the new situation that we must adapt to, and in this we must succeed, he laid down.
Regarding the Hungarians living in Croatia, the Prime Minister said they have become part of a success story with the country’s Schengen accession. He took the view that this is an historic change offering fantastic new opportunities and opening great prospects, adding that he sincerely hopes that accession to the Eurozone, too, will come up to expectations both for Croatia and the Hungarians living there.
In the context of Slovenia, he said grasping the situation is challenging; such an unexpected scenario of transition from communism is unfolding and it has such an unusual dynamic that one does not quite know when one is in real life and when one is watching a performance in the puppet theatre. He said he sincerely hopes that they will stop provoking the Hungarians living there as they do these days. They should try to forget about the unfortunate and silly accusations of conflicts of interest and should learn from the success of Serbian-Hungarian cooperation, he said. If we have no reason to maintain a tense relationship stemming from history, why could we not turn it into an amicable one, he said, expressing hope that they will conquer the ever greater uncertainty as this would also be in the best interests of the Hungarians living there.
Regarding Vojvodina, Mr Orbán spoke in words of praise about the achievements of the recently deceased President of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians István Pásztor, and wished his son Bálint Pásztor all the very best, observing that there is not much time to prove himself as there will be elections in December. He indicated that they can count on the Hungarian government, and they are also happy to help in the campaign. They are also providing such help for the Serbian government, he pointed out, adding that they have succeeded in developing strategic cooperation with the incumbent cabinet, and in light of the past and hoping for the best in the future, this could prove to be especially valuable.
At the meeting of the Hungarian Standing Conference, a short welcome address was delivered by Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén who highlighted that every Hungarian who wants to stay Hungarian, who has the tiniest spark of Hungarian identity will receive all possible support from the Hungarian State. At the beginning of the meeting, attendees honoured the memory of President of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians István Pásztor and the deceased Hungarian politician in Slovakia Miklós Duray with a minute’s silence. In their persons, outstanding figures of the Hungarian community as a whole and prominent architects of nation policy have departed from the world of the living, said State Secretary for Nation Policy János Árpád Potápi. The attendees also paid tribute to the late deputy state secretary Zsuzsanna Répás.