At the event entitled ‘Sovereignty Conference’ organised by the Századvég Political Knowledge Centre Foundation, Mr Orbán recalled that the think-tank Századvég was born as an institution 30 years ago, but its conception dates back much further, to the mid-1980s when the periodical Századvég was launched with the involvement of multiple contributors, including himself.
This generation decided that it did not want to carry on pretending, and even stated from time to time that “we hate the communists,” he recalled.
The Bibó College was “a little island of freedom,” but that was not enough as the ultimate goal was a free life, not just free five years at university, this is why Századvég was established, he highlighted.
Regarding the foundation of Századvég, he said “we wanted the communists to be toppled, the Soviets to get out of here, and we thought that a periodical would do as a second step” after the Bibó István College. This is how the periodical Századvég started, based on the premise that “a free life starts with free speech, while free speech starts with free writing,” the Prime Minister pointed out.
He said “once we have committed it to paper, it will spread,” and freedom will beget more freedom and more free people; that was the philosophy behind the establishment of Századvég.
Mr Orbán said what set them apart from other opposition movements organised at the time was that “we were the least experienced,” and “we were the most radical.”
The story of the foundation of Századvég was a story of the heart and patriotism, and “I would like it to remain that way,” he said.
The Prime Minister added that to start a periodical in the mid-1980s was radicalism incarnate, the launch of Századvég served as a radical announcement to the effect that here is a generation that believes that not only are changes necessary, but “there will be changes, and at that, radical changes.”
He highlighted that at the time they “were still singing from the same hymn sheet” with George Soros because neither did he want the communists to rule Hungary, and this is why he assisted anti-communist initiatives.
“That instead of the communists and the Soviets he wants to rule Central Europe was not yet clear during that period, we had no way of knowing that at the time. Today we are further forward, today he’s no longer hiding his plans, we are also familiar with the Soros Plan, he broke the British pound, is flooding Europe with migrants, and openly professes that national borders must be done away with, meaning that European countries must be deprived of their sovereignty,” he said.
He recalled that Századvég was required because there was a need for an intellectual workshop, “we needed a civic research centre that supports us.”
The Prime Minister highlighted that in 1993 it was clear to everyone that “Fidesz exists and will continue to exist,” but they were required to face a major intellectual challenge when the communists returned. “The tricky part in the whole story was – and this is what made our situation even more difficult intellectually – that the pro-freedom liberals opened the door” through which they came in, he said.
He stressed that this had not taken anybody by surprise because in Western Europe it was now natural that “the liberals are the new communists.” However, in 1993-1994, this came as a shock, it “caused a moral shock,” shaking the entire Hungarian political system to the core because “at the time, well-meaning people found things like this strange, to say the least.”
He recalled that therefore “we had to gain in strength,” we needed an intellectual workshop, and this is how Századvég’s knowledge centre came into being 30 years ago.
Mr Orbán said the main conclusion of the elections lost in 2022 was the underlying mistake that “we thought if we live in democracy, from here on nothing can be a threat to us. We thought that we have national sovereignty, it is ours, and everyone will serve it here at home and respect it from outside.”
He pointed out, however, that “the world that surrounds us does not have a vested interest in Hungary remaining a sovereign country; the people here in Hungary serving the world that surrounds us – even though they’re Hungarians – likewise don’t have a vested interest in Hungary remaining a sovereign country. They’re better-off if we lose our sovereignty partially or in its entirety.” There will always be forces that will continually besiege the defence lines of sovereignty, he added.
He stressed that Hungary will not be sovereign as long as “liberal hegemony rules public thinking.” This does not mean that we should do away with our opponents’ opinion; on the contrary, “we want pluralism in Hungary,” Mr Orbán laid down.
He warned, however, that people in the West had failed to understand this; over there, public thinking is incapable of stepping out of the liberal framework, “the palette is monochromatic.”
By Mr Orbán’s account, the Hungarian political system is closer to the classical concept of democracy than the Western European regarded as a model for a long time. The liberals do not care about the people; rather than a human community, an ideology constitutes the basis of their thinking, he pointed out.
Today, Hungary is the voice of the European people, the only country which says what the Hungarian and Western European people think, but it is time for changes in Europe, too, and for the European people to finally take the European institutions back, he stated.
He stressed that Hungary had influence in international politics beyond its actual weight, the reason for that being that today the European people were able to state their opinion through Hungary, rather than through their own outlets of publicity.
At the same time, he said it is high time for the West, too, to learn that “you can’t live in lies because they make you sick and eventually kill you.”
“It is time for changes in Europe, too, and for the European people to finally take the European institutions back,” he stressed.
In his view, the last century was about the loss of national sovereignty, the end of the century was about the re-acquisition of national sovereignty, while the present decade is about preserving sovereignty. He added that in the struggle for Hungary’s sovereignty, they will continue to rely on Századvég’s help, especially, on the help of young people. We acquired sovereignty, now it is young people’s turn to preserve it, he said.