He highlighted that neither the Government’s two-thirds parliamentary majority nor the country’s outstanding economic growth came as gifts, and that Hungary has worked hard for both. The Prime Minister remarked that there is a profound connection between politics and the economy, and that in neither sphere are results due to mere luck. He recalled that in 2009 – towards the end of the Socialist government’s term in office, Hungary’s collective wealth and reserves had been dissipated and squandered, together with opportunities for the future. Back then, he said, what Hungary needed was not simply crisis management packages, but complete renewal and a new direction. Speaking of the achievements since then, he listed the following: the number of marriages is rising; infant mortality has fallen; employment has increased from 55 to 70 per cent; unemployment has been cut to one third of its previous level; incomes are continuously increasing; and the minimum wage has been more than doubled. Mr. Orbán said that all of these achievements are the result of ten years of working together.
The Prime Minister also said that in ten years the Hungarian nation has found its feet, is ready to fight in the battles ahead of it, and has the chance to win: “we shall win; we shall win again and again”. He pointed out that “For us victory is not when our party wins: for us victory is when our country wins.” He said that his government is not engaged in politics to follow fashionable ideologies, but to sustain the Hungarian nation and its continued life in the future.
He also highlighted that for those who are doing well, “all that is needed is that their appetite for enterprise and work does not run into absurd obstacles, is not shackled by a foolish tax system, and does not lose its way in a maze of bureaucracy. We are glad to give them this; all we expect in return is that they obey the law, pay their taxes, provide work for as many people as possible, and do not seek to hold sway over government policy. We have already provided convincing arguments with regard to the latter.” He also asked successful businesspeople to make investments outside Hungary, so that by repatriating the resulting profits they can counterbalance the profits which are taken out of the country. In his view, this work will take at least ten years to complete.
Regarding the “bulk” of the country – those who are neither poor nor wealthy – he said that they expect to have jobs, and for those jobs to be worthwhile. Describing some of the policies with which the Government has benefited them, he mentioned 800,000 new jobs, the doubling of the minimum wage, tax allowances for families with children, free school meals and textbooks, extra childcare payments, reductions in household utility bills and stable pensions.
He described the “toughest nut to crack” as being the opening up of paths to help hundreds of thousands of fellow Hungarians who are struggling with poverty to find their feet and improve their lives. Recounting the Left’s time in government, he said that it did nothing for these people except provide them with handouts, and “didn’t treat them like human beings”. In this regard Mr. Orbán pointed out that his government has committed itself to the fight against poverty, and “Hungary will be a place where everyone will see how good it is to be Hungarian”. He said that “we’ve played our strongest card, as one should do in cards: a trump against an ace; work against poverty”.
Listing further plans, he said that everyone will have jobs and homes, every child will have a place in nursery and then school, where he or she will receive free meals and textbooks; there will be support for young people, and “everyone will be able to enjoy a dignified old age”.
The Hungarian opposition is an assemblage of pro-immigration politicians
In the Prime Minister’s words, the Hungarian opposition is “an assemblage of pro-immigration politicians which George Soros and the European bureaucrats are keeping on life support”. He stressed that in Hungary the socialists and the far right have formed a coalition, which is “the definition of political pornography”.
He described the shock of hearing an opposition politician say that drawing up a list of Members of Parliament of Jewish descent is not an example of anti-Semitism – especially as “Instead of creeping off silently into the shadows, the man who said this aspires to be the Mayor of Budapest. All we can say is that this is shameful”.
In the Prime Minister’s view, it is the shame of all Europe that the international Left is supporting this, and indeed are sending their leader to Hungary in order to “give their blessing to this political perversion”. He described politicians in the opposition coalition as being more like comedians than political leaders, using physical force and running amok in Parliament.
Our national pride also has an economic basis
Mr. Orbán said that Hungarian national pride also has an economic basis, as in terms of population Hungary is globally ranked at number 88, but in terms of exports it stands at number 34. Thus Hungary’s national pride, he pointed out, is strengthened by the performance of Hungarian engineers and workers, who have raised the country 54 places higher than would seem to be possible for the size of its population.
In his opinion Hungary can respond to the scenario of a world economic slowdown, and the Government will not abandon its plan for Hungary’s economic growth to exceed the EU average by at least 2 per cent annually. He added that “our greatest achievements are ahead of us. We have only just started to pick up speed, and the best is yet to come”.
Mr. Orbán said that the Hungarian economy is changing to a new dimension and, alongside traditional industrial production, the share of high added value research-based industry is increasing. But he noted that there will always be a need for a manual labour, and “workers in overalls with oil on their hands” will not disappear. Their work will always be required and one should appreciate them, he said, adding however that industries relying on new digitalisation and robotic technology must also be promoted.
He observed that in major new investments completed in 2018, the average salary was HUF 425,000, while for those in 2017 it had only been HUF 304,000. This, he said, shows that in Hungary new types of jobs are coming into being.
Brussels is the citadel of a new internationalism
He also said that, thirty years after the fall of communism, “we must again stand up for our Hungarian identity, for our Christian identity, protect our families and communities, and we must also protect our freedom”. Once more there are some, he continued, who advocate a world without nations, who want open societies, who are “cobbling together” a supranational world government, and who would flood the country with an alien culture. Today also, he said, such people are being controlled from abroad. In his words, Brussels is the citadel of this new internationalism, the fulfilment of which is being attempted through immigration.
In relation to this he said the following: “Drawers in Brussels are full of plans, and if they are given a chance, these plans will be implemented. A seven-point action plan has already been completed and is ready to be launched; it seeks to transform Europe into an immigrant continent after the European elections.” The aim, Mr. Orbán said, is for mandatory migrant quotas and the weakening of Member States’ rights to control their national borders – which George Soros has even described as an obstacle to his plan, which focuses on the protection of migrants. The Prime Minister added that the migrant [“humanitarian”] visa is also on the agenda, the European Parliament has voted to increase spending on organisations supporting immigration, and it wants to impose fines on Member States which are not prepared to obey its orders.
Mr. Orbán continued by saying that a Christian-Muslim world is coming into being in immigrant countries, which have a continuously declining percentage of Christians. Nevertheless, he stressed that “we Central Europeans still have our own future”, adding that the Government’s immigration policy will remain firm, and “we will not chop and change”.
In this regard, he described the European Left as speculators, as champions of world citizenry, world governance and global migration, and as the “gravediggers of nations, the family and the Christian way of life”. Referring to Frans Timmermans, the Left’s candidates for President of the European Commission, the Prime Minister said that “Since George Soros appointed a Socialist called Timmermans as the leader of the pro-immigration troops the fight has become open. He leads the list of pro-immigration politicians […] this is what the European elections are about, this is what Brussels is preparing for. At the same time, we are preparing to stop the formation of a pro-immigration majority.”
Mr. Orbán stressed that Hungary wants to see a Europe which respects the decisions of countries and peoples regarding their own future, and which accepts that Central Europeans want to pursue their own path. Throughout Europe fewer and fewer children are being born, he noted, and to this the response of Westerners is immigration: they think that “the shortfall should be made up by immigrants”, and then the numbers will be in order. The Prime Minister declared, however, that Hungary does not need numbers, but Hungarian children, and immigration represents surrender.
A seven-point family protection action plan
The Prime Minister recalled that on the issue of families national unity has been created: 1.35 million people participated in the national consultation on families, and 80 per cent supported the Government’s family policy. He observed that over the past nine years financial support for families has been doubled, and it is now the highest in Europe on a pro rata basis. Mr. Orbán announced a seven-point family protection action plan, saying that “this – not immigration – is the response of the Hungarian people”.
1. He said that the Government will introduce an allowance for young married couples aimed at encouraging them to have children. Every woman under the age of forty who gets married for the first time will be eligible for a preferential loan of up to HUF 10 million. Repayment of the loan will be suspended for three years after the birth of a child, and for another three years after a second. In addition, one third of the principal of the loan will be written off after the birth of a second child. If a third child is born, the remaining debt will be cancelled in its entirety.
2. Preferential loans available under the already established family housing benefit scheme will be extended. At present families with two children can receive low interest loans of HUF 10 million for the purchase of new homes, while families with three or more children have access to corresponding preferential loans of HUF 15 million. In the future, families with two or more children will also be able to use such loans for the purchase of existing properties.
3. Up until now the Government has provided mortgage repayment relief of one million forints for large families when a third child is born, and a further one million forints for each subsequent child. From now on the Government will provide this relief of one million forints when a second child is born, a further HUF four million for the birth of a third child, and one million forints after the birth of every subsequent child.
4. He said that women who have given birth to and raised four or more children will be exempt from personal income tax for the rest of their lives.
5. He also announced the introduction of a car purchase programme for large families. The Government will provide families raising at least three children with a non-repayable grant of HUF 2.5 million for the purchase of new cars with at least seven seats.
6. Mr. Orbán went on to say that universal crèche care will be made available. Over a period of three years, 21,000 new places will be created in crèches: 10,000 this year, 5,000 in 2020 and 6,000 in 2021. This means that by 2022 every family will be able to place their young children in crèche facilities.
7. The seventh point of the action plan is the introduction of childcare payments for grandparents: if parents so decide, grandparents will be able to receive childcare payments instead of them. He also announced the modernisation of language teaching in secondary schools, which will enable every secondary school student to attend two-week language courses abroad in the summer breaks of their 9th and 11th years in education.
The Prime Minister also announced that the Government has decided to spend HUF 700 billion on the development of health care, and this will including construction of a central hospital in Budapest.
“Hungary before everything, and God above us all”
At the end of his address, the Prime Minister invited everyone to defend Hungary and build up the country. He told his audience that border protection is in the safe hands of the police and the military, a new Hungarian army is being built, Hungary’s representatives in Brussels are standing their ground, almost five million Hungarians are now in employment, and the neighbouring countries “respect us”. He noted that “all we need is merriment and a little humour, but the Hungarian opposition are taking care of that”. Concluding his address, Mr. Orbán said that “The Hungarian people have yet to set out on their truly great adventure, and the greatest victories are yet to come. […] Hungary before everything, and God above us all. Go for it Hungary, go for it Hungarians!”
In his introductory speech, Zoltán Balog, President of the Foundation for a Civic Hungary, had reminded the audience that they have organised meetings in this form since 1999. He referred back to the Prime Minister’s address twenty years ago. He estimated that on that occasion the audience numbered around 300, but every year since then more and more people have wanted to attend, and this year has produced the largest ever audience. He spoke about his recent visit to the United States, where he saw the opposition applauding the US President’s State of the Union address at several points – although sometimes with stony faces. In his view, in Hungary also there could be a shared reference point: this would be none other than the shared joy parents have for their children – both those already born, and those yet to be born.