In the interview given at the Brussels Public Service Media Centre, the Prime Minister, who is currently attending a two-day EU summit, said at present we must face the dilemma that the European Union has leaders who are unable to solve the problem that we need a new strategy regarding Ukraine. This is one of the reasons why we must achieve change in the next European parliamentary elections, he stressed.
“They may well be good leaders in peacetime when the waters are calm, there is no wind and you can row your boat in peace. However, now, when there is a storm, there are enormous waves towering over us and pirate boats are also appearing on the horizon, we won’t be able to manage with these leaders, that’s for sure,” he said.
In his view, in the EP elections we will have to find European leaders who are able to coordinate the work of prime ministers even in the present difficult situation, “to head in the direction of a given, carefully designated goal, and to lead us there.”
At the same time, he also indicated that changes were required in the European Union not only in the persons of its leaders. There is a need for change also regarding the EU’s approach to migration and economic policy because from time to time Brussels comes up with “absurd proposals such as that we must do away with the reduction of household energy bills, must stop collecting windfall taxes from banks, thereby taking away a part of their extra profits, or must do away with the interest cap which protects families.”
The stakes are high, things are hotting up, Mr Orbán said, adding that he will propose the organisation of another national consultation.
He stressed that the national consultation was a good means; also at present, there are 10 to 11 serious questions regarding which people should be given a chance to state their opinions.
He said the several million answers received in each national consultation create “a large support base behind the government, and then the government is able to engage in the talks in Brussels confidently, from a strong enough power position, even if it must do so against a gale force headwind.”
The Prime Minister also said at the EU summit, Brussels’ budget proposal had to be dismissed as lacking in preparation, and unfit for serious debate. “So we threw it back and the Commission will have to come back with a more serious proposal, but it was a major battle,” he stated, adding that they are not even at half-term of the seven-year EU budget adopted three years ago, but already “the Brussels money devourers are coming along” and are telling us “to give them another 100 billion euros, that the Member States should put that money into the kitty.”
He said they are referring to two major items of expenditure: Member States should give more money to Ukraine and for the management of migration. A part of the funds would be spent on the protection of the external borders, “something that we could talk about,” however, the other half would be spent on the distribution of the migrants already in the EU among Member States, the establishment of migrant camps and the continuation, with new funds, of the flawed policy, the consequences of which one can see in Brussels and other large European cities week after week, he argued.
He stressed that together with migrants they had imported terrorism, crime and conflicts which had emerged outside Europe, thousands of kilometres away. He said today these conflicts are here, on the streets of European cities. Perhaps, Hungarians appreciate less the significance of this because “we don’t have things like that,” given that “we were strong when we had to be strong, and didn’t let migrants in,” he said.
He highlighted that those who had let them in, however, now lived together with conflicts which were not from around here, but had come from afar because “they brought trouble here, instead of taking help there,” even though it should be the other way around.
He observed that, in addition to the two major items, the bureaucrats also said they would like a small reserve to be accumulated, and even “managed to append a little pay rise to this proposal.”
Regarding the funding of the war in Ukraine, the Prime Minister said he is certain that “Hungary will not cope [with the burden] and neither does it want to” because he sees no reason why Hungarian taxpayers’ money should be sent to a neighbouring state, unless for the purposes of humanitarian assistance.
He stressed that before the money was spent, a clear goal must be determined, and funds must be allocated accordingly.
The Prime Minister recalled that at the time of the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the EU’s plan was that Ukraine “should engage in a war of defence,” they should give their blood, while the EU would provide the necessary funds and military equipment because there was a realistic chance of Ukraine winning on the front. As long as this is a realistic scenario, we can talk about providing money for the attainment of this strategic objective.
Today, however, everyone is aware, except no one has the courage to admit, that this strategy has failed, the Prime Minister said, stating that “it is evident that the Ukrainians will not win on the front, the Russians will not lose on the front, and the Russian President is far from being toppled in Moscow.”
At times like this, we must say: Plan A has failed. We must now devise a plan B. If there is a plan B, then we must talk about how much it will cost. And once we know how much it will cost, then we must decide how to distribute the costs among ourselves. You cannot do it the other way around, he stated.
In the context of immigration, the Prime Minister recalled that Hungary had said already in 2015 that migration would result in crime, terrorism, unmanageable political tensions and enormous expenses.
At the time, “we were almost crucified,” he said, recalling the Brussels reactions, adding that the fence was “a blood libel.”
As the years have gone by, it has become increasingly clear that doubts have emerged about “whether they did the right thing.” We have won this battle, he stressed. Today, almost every country stands for the same position that Hungary stood for back in 2015, he added.
The Prime Minister stressed that Hungary had developed a model for how to defend the country and the continent. The applicants of migrants must be assessed whilst they are still outside Europe. Hungary has developed a system for this, a system of legal, military and physical border closure, he recalled.
He said this should be done in the whole of Europe. In his view, people in the West have already reached the point of having realised the mistakes they had made: they have let in terrorism and crime, and some now even have the courage to admit that which “we say, that there is an evident, inevitable and close connection between migration, crime and terrorism.” However, they have not yet reached the stage of adopting the successful Hungarian model, he observed.
Mr Orbán added that, instead, they were still attacking Hungary. The European Commission led by its president took Hungary to court in order for Hungary to dismantle the only successful border protection model. Hungary will not be in an easy position because, under pressure from the Commission, Brussels adopts pro-migration decisions, he pointed out.
Regarding the solution of the problems caused by migration, he said if Western European countries believe that they will be able to expel migrants, they are free to do so. At the same time, they should ask themselves the questions: How exactly will that happen? Where will they take the migrants?”
“Once the toothpaste is squeezed out of the tube, to try and make ourselves believe that we’ll be able to somehow force it back by magic, I think that’s nothing more than a fairy tale,” he said.
He stated that some other solution should be found, but that is not Hungary’s problem. “I don’t want to share the problems of westerners,” he added.
In continuation, he said they would oblige Hungary to build migrant camps which they would stock with migrants whom they had let in. He added that they had let in migrants who were shooting at and attacking police officers at Hungary’s southern border.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the bureaucrats in Brussels were living in a bubble. However, behind every decision there are human factors. You cannot look upon the people coming here as individuals that could be subjected to social experiments.
He drew attention to the fact that migrants were coming from a different civilisation and different culture. He added that he regarded Islam as a major cultural achievement that raised man from barbarism. The only question is, however, what is it doing here? Who guarantees that something good will come out of the mass coexistence of these two worlds? – the Prime Minister listed the questions.
Mr Orbán laid down that, as far as he can see, all this poses a risk that we need not take upon ourselves. Therefore, we must fight for the right to be able to tell who is allowed to enter the territory of Hungary and to decide what risks we want to take. As long as there is a national government in office, the security of the Hungarian people will not be jeopardised, he stressed.
In answer to a question related to his recent talks in China, the Prime Minister said if we want Hungary to take advantage of the benefits offered by green energy and to achieve energy independence, we must cooperate with Chinese companies and technology.
The Prime Minister said the biggest question the world economy is facing is who will have the ability to store the green energy generated and to put it to use when it is needed. In this, today, China is at the vanguard, and if Hungary joins this new technology in good time, before others, then within a short time it will be able to reduce much of its disadvantage regarding its state of development, he stressed.
He also drew attention to the fact that Hungary had privileged, good relations with China inherited from the old times which we would do well not to waste. It is an enormous opportunity if we are able to translate this into the language of economic relations, he added.
The Prime Minister further said the simple idea at the bottom of the government’s family policy considerations is that “if there are children, there is a future; if there are no children, there is no future.”
He said the government’s most important task is to help people to have children. He stressed that it was not the duty of the government to convince people to have children; he would not welcome “any such communist propaganda.” Instead, it is the duty of the government to help so that people should not come up against obstacles that might prevent them from having children.
He said they had worked on the new form of benefit to be introduced from 1 January 2024 that would replace the old city family housing benefit (csok) for a year, adjusting to the changed financial circumstances. They adopted the relevant proposal at the Wednesday cabinet meeting.
He stated that with the introduction of the so-called ‘csok plus’ family housing benefit, families deciding to have 1, 2 or 3 children will receive considerable assistance with the establishment of independent housing.