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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s reply in Parliament

Perhaps, ‘would like’ is the wrong phrase, but this is what custom dictates. However, to be honest with you, I’m not particularly enthusiastic because this whole situation is highly surreal. We’re in a situation where, as far as I can see, facts count for nothing here, nor does the past; everyone here says what they want, everyone is free to talk nonsense. For instance, someone spoke about the average pension which has, according to them, decreased; in actual fact, compared with 2010, it has increased by 50 per cent. Someone said that the country’s economy is going to the dogs; in 2010 the assets of households amounted to 30,000 billion forints, in 2021 they amount to 70,000 billion. I don’t know whether there is any point in repeating these facts over and over again because evidently those sitting opposite us are not interested in reality at all. Only Péter Jakab can be excused from reality, and the only reason for that is that everyone knows, the whole country knows that he only comes to Parliament to fool around like a clown, and what a clown says doesn’t need to be taken seriously. Though also in the department of clowning around, he has an innovation of his own which is quite remarkable: he is the only clown in the world who has bodyguards. Congratulations, Jobbik!

I would also like to say a few words about threats at the end of my reply, but I’d like to draw everyone’s attention to the fact that Jobbik is in the habit of teaming up with those that they previously threaten with imprisonment. I clearly remember how they kept threatening Ferenc Gyurcsány with jail sentences; now – wedged under his armpit – they take lessons from him in democracy. Congratulations on that, too! Perhaps it will pay off.

I understand that members of the opposition don’t necessarily give our words credit, but at least you should give credit to your own supporters, the European Union. The entire European Union is there behind you, in the Commission you have your comrades who are working hard to help you win the next elections. You should at least accept the data they publish as they’re your masters, they’re the ones who say this. You may not believe me, but the European Union’s statistical office says that since 2010 the number of those exposed to the risk of poverty, 1,250,000 persons – you should believe your masters –, the percentage of those living in extreme poverty has in a decade fallen from 23.4 per cent to 8 per cent, Esteemed Fellow Parliamentarians. Let me repeat one more time, you should at least believe your masters.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Fellow Parliamentarian Bertalan Tóth talks about what local governments received or didn’t receive. I’d like to remind everyone that we took over local governments from the Gyurcsány Government with debts up to their eyeballs, they were on the verge of bankruptcy, in fact, some did go bankrupt, and the government, the civic, national government assumed the debts of all local governments, including the extremely rich municipality of Budapest. So the question is what we have or haven’t given them? And now that Fellow Parliamentarian Bertalan Tóth spoke about having just been to Pécs, he could have mentioned that only last week we inaugurated the campus of the medical university, a project worth 23 billion forints. Perhaps, the people of Pécs might appreciate that. There is no point in concealing these facets of the truth. No one thinks that everything is going well in Baranya County, but everyone does think that the government is making extreme efforts to raise the country’s underdeveloped regions to the level of the rest of the country.

There will be a referendum about the Fudan University, so perhaps there is no point in going through all the untrue claims made here in this regard.

As for universities, last year we spent 220 billion forints on the operation of universities, from September we made changes, and will spend 417 billion forints on their operation – not on development, but operation.

I hear similar silly statements about the issue of debts, that no other government had ever before taken on so much debt because the Hungarian Government – for the reasons to be detailed in a minute – took out a loan of 4.5 billion euros. Esteemed Member of Parliament, you – because now you’re all together – took out loans worth 14.3 billion euros. You know, that’s more than 4.5. So quite simply, one is faced with such absurd and preposterous claims that it’s hard to talk about them seriously. At any rate, I’d like to tell those whom the European Union’s left-wing commission supports ever so enthusiastically that they don’t seem to be aware of the precise name of the recovery fund: Recovery and Resilience Facility. The European Union is giving no one extra funds in order to conquer the crisis; they’re giving out credit which will have to be repaid. We will repay a part of that loan together, through the budget of the European Union, and the other part will be repaid directly by the budgets [of Member States]. There is no money in the window for anyone to take. What Hungary is doing is that if the EU doesn’t give us – though we sincerely hope that negotiations will lead to a satisfactory conclusion – the money that we’re entitled to in a timely fashion, but credit is available, then we will replace that money with loans raised from elsewhere. I’d like to inform you that the bonds issued most recently fetched historical record-low interest rates; they were below 1 per cent or at just around 1 per cent. Hungary is not a member of the Eurozone, and is able to raise credit from the money markets with interest rates similar to the countries which have the European Central Bank behind them. This is a good sign, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Many also spoke here against China – let’s be straight about this then. I understand that there is a big struggle in the world under way today which is about the fact that the world leader position of the United States is under threat, and China is catching up… All statistical data indicates – and people in the West keep repeating it as a stock platitude – that there is a shift at the top of the world. This is not unusual; the Americans who tend to be accurate people even reported that, based on the written records of world history, so far sixteen such changes have occurred, including twelve amidst wars, and only four took place in peaceful circumstances. So I understand that there is a big problem here, but I would caution anyone against committing ourselves one-sidedly in this China-America struggle. I think it’s positively tactless that the entire opposition is evidently in the pockets of the Americans; they talk about this issue as if it were our problem. I understand that this shift is a major problem for the United States, but this is not the Hungarian people’s problem, Esteemed Opposition, do try to represent the Hungarian people. The Hungarian people have a vested interest in not being dragged into such a Cold War. We have a vested interest in maintaining good relations with everyone, both the Americans and the Chinese. What you want – that against the best interests of the Hungarian people we should join their side and climb into the pockets of the Americans – is I think a flawed political idea, despite the fact that the Americans are our allies; this must be stated clearly. Anyone who suggests that in this Chinese-American dispute, in this world political and world trade dispute we Hungarians should unilaterally surrender our Chinese markets, surrender Chinese investments – while the Americans trade with them as much as they like – speaks against the best interests of the Hungarian people. This is a complete misconstruction of Hungary’s foreign policy. The essence of Hungary’s foreign policy is that we must maintain good relations with all important global political players – it’s difficult, not everyone has always succeeded. It’s difficult, but possible. This is the Hungarian situation today. It’s only right that Hungary has a vested interest in the reinforcement of the European Union. It’s important that Hungary is a good ally of the United States. It’s important that Hungary should foster a reasonable and respectful relationship with Russia, and it’s important that Hungary should take advantage of all the benefits that trading with China has to offer. This is the right attitude, and this is an adequate national interest defined in terms of foreign policy objectives, Ladies and Gentlemen. So I understand that you’re on the Americans’ side – but I’m not sure it’s worth it. At any rate, you should make sure you get your money’s worth. If you’re so determined to take that side, make sure you get your money’s worth. You shouldn’t do this for free.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Now, I should also say a few words about the address of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány who is unfortunately no longer with us… He left the room. It’s important to remind each other of moral considerations. I think it’s especially important to avoid at any cost a situation where the government – any Hungarian government – is concerned more with itself than with the country. I will quote him now about how the Esteemed Left, the Left now complete with Jobbik, did this themselves: “We have no choice,” said the Prime Minister after a couple of years in government “because we … this. Not a little, a lot.” “In Europe,” says the Prime Minister who lectured us morally, “no other country had done such a stupid thing as we had done”. Naturally, knowing him he adds: “We can explain it. We have evidently lied through the past eighteen months to two years. It was perfectly clear that what we said was not true,” says Ferenc Gyurcsány. He then lectures us on moral issues, and suggests that we focus not on ourselves, but on the affairs of the country. Don’t you think this is funny, Ladies and Gentlemen? The incumbent leader of the Left also says – even if he now pushes his wife and the Mayor of Budapest in front of himself, we know who’s boss – I’ll quote him again: “And meanwhile, we did nothing for four years. You can’t mention a single significant governmental measure that we can be proud of.” He then lectures us that we should concern ourselves with the country, not with ourselves. He says, I’ll quote him again: “The abundance of money in the world economy and tricks in the hundreds that you evidently don’t need to know about helped us to survive this.” He then tells us to stop lying.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a farce. Péter Jakab is in the right place. Thank you for your attention.