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Interview with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Kossuth Radio’s programme “Good Morning Hungary”

Katalin Nagy: The President of Turkey visited Hungary at the invitation of President János Áder. He had talks with the President of the Republic and the Hungarian Prime Minister, and there were very many Turkish businesspeople in his delegation. I welcome Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to the studio. What is the geopolitical or geostrategic argument for Hungary maintaining good diplomatic relations with Turkey – in the face of liberal accusations that we are making friends with a dictator?

Good morning everyone. There is a general, fundamental principle of Hungarian foreign policy. Sometimes foreign policy does indeed hinge on personalities, and clearly this aspect cannot be detached from the Government’s way of thinking on its current foreign policy approach. But as I see it, our duty is to collect friends, not enemies. In addition to this, respect is important: questions related to the state of Turkish democracy and the Turkish political system are matters for the Turkish people. Hitherto I have made sure that Hungary refrains from indulging in bad Western European behaviour which shows a lack of respect, and that it refrains from attempting to lecture countries – which are sometimes far bigger than ourselves – with rebukes such as “naughty, naughty, that’s no way to behave”, and “in a democracy a country is not governed the way you’re governing yours”. In my opinion such behaviour leads nowhere. The Americans have also realised this. Incidentally, they introduced this fashion, and they forced it on Europe: the approach that Europe or the West has the right to judge and condemn everyone who arranges their lives in a way which differs from our preferences. By contrast, Hungarian foreign policy has a traditional orientational attitude: Hungary is situated where it is – it could have existed somewhere else, but it is here in the Carpathian Basin. And the Carpathian Basin has always been – and will be for a long time – under the influence of three great powers: we identify these as Berlin, Moscow and Istanbul – although Turkey’s capital is no longer Istanbul, but Ankara. The third important factor is that the policy of Turkey is directly linked to the security of Hungary. President Erdoğan has confirmed that currently there are four million migrants in the territory of Turkey. They are not setting out for Western Europe because the Turks are not allowing them to. But if they were to allow them to leave, we would be in trouble, because these people – or at least a considerable number of them – would, in one way or another, appear on the Serbian-Hungarian border a few days later. So it is in our elementary interest for Turkey to have a strong political system and a strong leader, for us to be able to come to an agreement with them, and for our partners in that agreement to abide by it. And perhaps the most important thing that those who criticise Turkey often forget is that we are international allies. Turkey is a member of NATO, and so is Hungary. In the world today there is no stronger alliance, military and security alliance, than NATO. Its members belong together, as they agree to take responsibility for one another. This agreement states that if one member is attacked, all the other NATO member states will rush to its aid. And finally I would also like to draw the public’s attention to economic issues. Hungary is a fantastic country in terms of its economic performance. We don’t usually talk about this, but remember that, apart from our agriculture, we don’t have natural resources: we have no industrial natural resources, and we cannot extract energy or raw materials from the ground. Everything in this country – and there are some fantastic things in Hungary – is the result of hard work, the hard work of Hungarians: our talent, our brains, our spirit, our arms and our muscles. In other words, we have created all this. And this country of ten million is able to produce exports worth a hundred billion euros. This is a fantastic achievement, and of course it means that we need to be active in trade, and make a profit. On our side our balance of trade with Turkey is positive, meaning that there are powerful economic interests inducing us to make Turkish-Hungarian relations and trade as strong as possible. So these considerations are enough for us to agree with President Áder’s decision to invite President Erdoğan to Hungary.

 There will be an EU summit next week. Will the issue of border protection, that you raised last time, be on the agenda? Many Member States raised objections to the reform of Frontex, but is it possible that the European Commission will push this proposal through anyway, these objections notwithstanding? What do you think?

 Well, in answer to your question, if I were to sum up the situation in Europe in a single sentence I would say that all bets are on the table, together with all the cards. In May there will be elections to the European Parliament, and what is happening now should be seen as part of an election campaign. Those in power in Brussels – and we are not – are pro-immigration forces: in Brussels there is a pro-immigration majority, and they want to push everything through before the May elections; because who knows what will happen then? It is possible – as we hope – that after the elections there will be a majority in Europe rejecting immigration, and Europe will have such a commission and such a parliament. This is why I say that all bets are on the table, and so next week’s summit is important. Immigration programmes are being manufactured at full speed. The Commission has issued its programme, which says what, in its view, must be urgently implemented. For Hungarian eyes this is a kind of horror story collection. It features things like a permanent migrant resettlement programme, the opening of legal migration routes, joint pilot migration programmes with African countries, the introduction of a new so-called “humanitarian visa”, the involvement of NGOs in the assessment of visa applications, and giving rights and powers to the organisations which are financed by George Soros. So these proposals would mean depriving Member States of the right of border protection, and transferring it to Frontex. Words are significant, and that organisation no longer talks about border protection, but border management; I didn’t invent this term myself, and it doesn’t sound nice in Hungarian. The term “border protection” means that there is a border which we protect. “Border management”, by contrast, means that there is something there, the crossing of which should somehow be managed. This is a category or definition that expresses a completely different way of thinking. So this is the situation going into the summit. I will have some intense days in Brussels next week.

 But it is not only the Commission that has plans: the European Parliament is also presenting its plans. This so-called “humanitarian visa” was proposed by the European Parliament.

Of course, the Liberal grouping in the European Parliament, which is also baiting Hungary and trying to stigmatise it, this group is not the largest in the European Parliament in terms numbers – but it can perhaps be seen as the strongest in terms of the financial support and media backing behind it. That is where the real power is concentrated. So when there is conflict between pro-immigration and anti-immigration forces, that group always take the lead on the pro-immigration side: they are always in the vanguard, and they are the wedge which is used to try to change anti-immigration countries.

 Yes, and the work they are doing is conspicuous. Only this week a journalist in the US, who happens to be a Muslim, wrote that in fact it is an open secret – which everyone knows, but journalists don’t have the courage to write about – that, for instance, in the US before the election of the new Supreme Court justice, the demonstrations against the nominee were staged and led by organisations funded by George Soros. And it seems to work the same way in Europe: this is what we’ve seen in connection with the Sargentini Report, with the main conclusions of the Sargentini Report in fact being the conclusions of organisations working for George Soros.

 Well now this can be called an open secret, and the fact that now we can talk about it is an important consequence of the European political events of the past few years. We tend to forget it because such a lot of things have been happening, but only a few years ago very few people knew what powerful networks are operated by George Soros –funded with millions or billions of dollars – in Hungary, Central Europe, Brussels, and also the United States. This was a hidden network, which, just as in water polo, was active under the surface of the water: above the surface there are smiles all round; while down below the real action is taking place. This was their tactic, too. A major consequence of the past few years is that we have brought this network to the surface, and people can see it. This was a covert network, and it’s very difficult to fight against covert networks. But now it’s been brought out into the light. And as in democracies it is the people that make decisions, now the people themselves can see what has been happening, and that no one gave this network authorisation to influence our lives, no one gave them a mandate, and no one entrusted them with this “work”. At the same time, what they are doing is, for example, contrary to the national interest of the Hungarian people. Therefore we have given ourselves – Hungarians and the European public – the chance to expel these networks from Europe. But I think that the most compelling aspect is that this battle is also under way in the United States, where there is a struggle between the US President’s power circles and Soros’s organisations in the United States. We Hungarians, who stand on national foundations, find that hard to comprehend. If we look behind the scenes, we can see that the forces centred around the US President clearly want to return to the foundations of US national interest, and in parallel want to recognise the right of other nations to also live their lives and represent their interests according to their choice. Ranged against them, in the US and everywhere else, are the large-scale Soros-style networks, whom we refer to as globalists: instead of agreements and treaties between nations, they want global governance. We who stand on the side of nations believe that the world works properly if it is divided into nations: nations have elected leaders, these leaders represent their own national interests, conclude agreements with one another, and so take care of world affairs. Globalists think that the proper state of affairs is to have a world government: there should be a centre of power somewhere, which adopts decisions and issues edicts to nation states. This is the concept of global governance. The conflict between these two ideals – the ideals of the national approach and global governance, the supporters of nation states and globalists – can be seen not only in Brussels on a pan-European scale, but also inside individual countries, perhaps most conspicuously in the United States. I should add that this is also the case in Hungary, but here today the opposition is … I’m searching for the word … lame. Here this conflict is not seen in all its gravity, as we have a national government. All the same, the opposition in Hungary represents the philosophy of globalist world governance, but at the moment it has little significance.

 But we’re not only talking about organisations funded by George Soros: we can see that such sponsored people are also installing themselves into international organisations and the institutional system. For instance, we’ve now seen that an Albanian lawyer was able to be appointed as a judge in the European Court of Human Rights, despite the fact that he has no experience as a judge. It has turned out that he worked for one of George Soros’s foundations. And we can see the same in the UN, can’t we? Its migration compact seeks to represent the same globalist mentality.

 Well, networks like those of George Soros have some weaknesses, but also some competitive advantages. Their weakness is that if they are suddenly exposed we begin to defend ourselves against them in the name of the people – and after all, as elected leaders it is our duty to represent the people’s interests. It then transpires that no one has given them a mandate, and in this debate they are fighting a losing battle. But, on the other hand, they are much more agile than we are. After all, we lead states, we have institutions, and we cannot do just anything – we cannot settle issues within two days. Issues must be debated by our parliaments, then by governments, and from this a plan must be forged which can then be finally implemented. By contrast, they can settle their policy through calls between three telephones, if needs be. In this regard these networks and movements undoubtedly have a competitive advantage over us nation states: they don’t have to adopt decisions formally, and they aren’t accountable to anyone. They simply install their people in positions where they think important things will be happening in the future. Incidentally, this is also how intelligence agencies work, so it is no accident that every state – including Hungary – has an intelligence agency appropriate to its size; because there are things which need to be taken care of swiftly and efficiently, rather than through the traditional, democratic decision-making channels. These networks, however, function solely according to the logic of intelligence agencies, and so they are themselves nothing less than outsourced intelligence agencies, if I may put it that way. This does not fall within the Hungarian prime minister’s remit, but we are familiar with studies and books which say that in the 1980s a change took place in the world, and very many intelligence activities were simply outsourced by states to international non-governmental networks. And now God only knows the exact links between non-governmental organisations and networks, and their parent organisations and countries of origin which originally sent them on their way. This is the complicated, chaotic and noisy world we are living in today.

Next year there will be elections to the European Parliament, but it seems that in this struggle it is not simply parties or party alliances confronting one another, but that non-governmental organisations have also joined the battle. We can see that their goal is also to discredit politicians and countries opposed to immigration. There was a good example of this only this week: Transparency International – an international organisation funded by Soros – engaged an economist to prepare an analysis, a study, about the fact that the residency bond programme was not in fact beneficial for Hungary, but only benefited intermediaries. Isn’t this about the fact that these big international financiers thought that they were in a position to lend money to Hungary when it needed it, at the beginning of this decade?

I wouldn’t rule that out; it was a long time ago, and those who aren’t involved in public affairs don’t always remember things quite as clearly as they should. But in 2010–11 Hungary was completely exposed financially, so we had to use every means possible to avoid suffocation – in particular when we adopted the new Constitution. We introduced the bank levy, started imposing extra taxes on multinational corporations, and sent the IMF packing. I don’t know whether listeners remember that heroic period, shrouded in the mists of time, but we had to engage in enormous struggles – not, back then, related to the issue of immigration, but for the country’s economic sovereignty and financial survival. We had to deploy very many methods, as I think one does in sport. And, in the end, it is the result that matters. We are still here, today everyone recognises the strength of the Hungarian economy, its growth rate is higher than the EU average, and soon we will reach full employment. While we still have very many problems, and wages will need to see significant increases, over the past two to three years this process has also started. So it seems that the Hungarian economy is on the right track. This required the introduction of methods which we used to ensure our survival. And, of course, where there is money there are also speculators: where there is meat there are also flies. This is no reason for irritation, but it is the duty of a country’s leaders to swat away speculators like George Soros.

 In the policy that it is pursuing, Hungary also has allies from outside the Visegrád Four. But, following the United States, it was Hungary which left the UN’s migration compact, and we understand that the Poles and the Austrians are also seriously considering this option. Why would it be important for them to follow suit – or for even more countries to consider this before December?

 Large Soros-style international networks are attempting to use the UN, over which they have major influence, to propound and present their endeavours as ones which have worldwide support. One manifestation of these attempts is their initiative for the UN to adopt a resolution – a compact – on global migration, and for this document or compact to support migration. The UN is a good arena for this, as across the world the number of countries from which migrants come is far greater than the number countries which they aim to enter; and so we can venture to say that in the UN – where every state in the world is represented – pro-migration forces will always be in the majority. So they have been clever in realising that the UN could be used for creating a document which states that migration is a good thing, that it is needed and cannot be stopped, and that therefore the task should not be to protect the borders of nation states, but to manage and arrange the world’s migration processes. If the UN gives this its blessing, then from that point onwards the likes of George Soros can claim that the world – the entire world – has granted them authorisation for their plans to organise these international migration movements. This is why it is important to prevent this; but as we are in a minority, and we cannot do that. What can one do in a situation like this? We have to make it clear that the clauses and rules of the compact which they now wish to adopt do not apply to us. The Americans were the first to recognise that they should leave the talks – and if they cannot prevent something, then Hungary will hardly be able to. Then we were the next to withdraw. Now more and more countries are beginning to realise that this is a dangerous game, and in the period ahead they will leave the compact or voice their reservations: they are beginning to distance themselves from the UN’s document, in case they are later required to take in migrants on that basis – because this is the danger it involves.

 We have four or five minutes left. I would like to discuss two more issues. One of them is that, after all, Mayor of Budapest István Tarlós has decided to run for office again. How did you manage this? How did you manage to convince him to run again?

 I don’t think my word was the deciding factor. I would attach more importance to two other things. The first is that Fidesz’s mayors of the Budapest districts gathered together, reviewed the situation in the capital, and adopted decisions related to the municipal elections being held in a year’s time. And in that respect an unavoidable question was that of the Mayor of Budapest himself and the job he has done so far. They evaluated this and then gave me authorisation to ask István Tarlós to stand again for the office of mayor. So the mayors of Budapest districts would like to continue their cooperation with the city’s mayor. The other consideration – and perhaps an even more compelling one – was István Tarlós himself. He is not known as the sort of person whom the Prime Minister can just send from one place to another, so this…

He knows his own mind.

And in that he’s not the only one: I could say that neither of us are your typical ballet dancer. We had serious, man-to-man talks about the stipulations according to which he would be able to continue his work. He was forthright in saying that if the situation is better than it has been so far – and he has had to struggle with a lot of problems – he would be prepared to start this campaign. Naturally we are not the ones who will decide who the Mayor of Budapest is: that is up to the people of Budapest; but under such circumstances he would be willing to start the campaign. The word “condition” is too strong, because we haven’t reached a situation in which anyone is in a position to dictate conditions to a Hungarian government; but he had some stipulations, and I was glad to consent to them, as I agreed with them in large part.

You have set up the Budapest Development Council.

That is perhaps the most important of them.

That is the most important. Yes, but the opposition says that this is the end of local governance, because with it István Tarlós has surrendered all his responsibilities.

Well, this reminds me of a chorus of poor church mice. Poor Budapest councillors! I advise these fine councillors to take a look at how much they’ve contributed to the cost of the developments implemented in Budapest over the past few years. The truth is that first of all in 2010–11 we had to relieve Budapest of a debt of more than two hundred billion forints.

I think they forgot that.

Yes, but in the past we weren’t talking about developments: they simply plunged the city into debt, and that debt had to be taken on by the Hungarian government – or rather by ten million Hungarians. So I believe that a better counsellor for the opposition would be humility rather than belligerence: if we look at the developments that have been completed, we can see – and István Tarlós was right about this – that the majority of them have been implemented using central government funding, using Hungarian taxpayers’ money. But they have been realised in Budapest. And Mr. Tarlós has said that the balances and proportions are not right, because the Government has decided on the developments implemented in Budapest, and Budapest has been unable to influence these decisions; and this is not a desirable state of affairs. So István Tarlós has acquired major powers for the capital, and he has said that he insists that Budapest developments – even if they are implemented from state funds, on state-owned land and to serve state purposes – should only be given the go ahead with the consent of the people of Budapest. So he has acquired stronger rights for Budapest than ever before. In my view the opposition is looking at the situation incorrectly, and has got hold of the wrong end of the stick.

We don’t have much time left, but there is a very important issue which affect tens of thousands of families: care allowances. This is a very important issue, because, after all, families caring for sick relatives or children are taking a burden off the state.

And this is not an easy job either: it’s demanding, both physically and mentally. There are people who’ve said that it’s all very good that the Hungarian economy is now stabilising, and who are also happy with the growth figures, that wages are increasing, and that the value of pensions is in fact increasing rather than decreasing; but who’ve also said that so far they’ve received little attention – despite the fact that they’re bearing a burden which deserves more attention. And in this they are right. Hungary is moving forward step by step. Let me repeat once again: in 2010 we needed to pull our head out of the noose; we cannot resolve every problem simultaneously, but we have the right sentiments and intentions, and we are humane. Therefore one by one we have been reaching out to social groups whose difficult situations we are able to improve. One of these problem areas is that of care in the family. We’ve reviewed the whole situation, changed the regulations and established a home care allowance for looking after children at home. The aim is for this allowance to be equivalent to the minimum wage by 2022. And we also taking a major, tangible step forward right now. Earlier the allowances for which parents caring for their children at home were eligible fell into different categories ranging between thirty and fifty thousand forints. We are raising this at a stroke to one hundred thousand forints. This is a gross figure, which I think will be subject to a ten per cent deduction, meaning that they will receive a net amount of ninety thousand forints. This is several times the amount that they received earlier. In the coming years we shall raise this allowance in a planned manner every year. Meanwhile we haven’t forgotten about those who are not caring for children at home, but parents or older relatives. We are also raising their care allowances.

 Thank you. You have been listening to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.