In his address, the Prime Minister highlighted that it is the duty of the Hungarian countryside to ensure the natural and healthy state of Hungarian existence. It is time to settle Hungary’s debt to the countryside, the dignity and the strength which was taken away from the countryside must be restored, he said.
He stressed that the inauguration of a university is an extraordinary event in itself, but it is equally uplifting “if we are finally able to reassuringly repay an old debt”. Now “we’re inaugurating a university and settling a debt all at once,” he added.
“It is nothing short of scandalous that an independent university is only now being established in a place which was once referred to as the Athens by the River Bodrog; it’s almost a sin, it is a mistake that so far there had been no independent university in the town where Hungarian spirit has found home for so long,” he said.
He highlighted that the reason for the accumulation of this debt should be sought in the past. During the history of the past one hundred years – the years of the history of “one hundred years of solitude” – Hungary forgot about the countryside, he said, pointing out that all this began with a lost World War and Trianon, as in the war the balance between the capital and the countryside was upset. “Trianon then delivered the final blow,” regions that once belonged together were torn apart and became peripheral.
The Prime Minister said after this the forced industrialisation of communism and socialist urbanisation took place at the expense of the countryside, villages became depopulated, soaring intellectual centres became provincial. For the communists the country was the capital, and looked upon the countryside as second-class Hungary, he said.
He observed that not even the change of regime rectified this historical injustice, the national ideal and the countryside were not important “for the twice returning communists” either; after the fall of communism, the decline of the countryside did not stop, but continued.
Mr Orbán highlighted that for the national Christian democratic governments, however, the countryside “is not the edge, the periphery of something, but the centre, the core of something”. “In our eyes, the capital and the countryside constitute a whole,” he added.
He said “country air makes us patriotic,” the Hungarian mindset, attitude and habit that constitute the basis of our survival in the future are still alive here. It is this that “Hungarian mission awareness stems from, the awareness that gives our lives meaning, serves as the basis of our rights, imposes obligations on us and designates our goals,” he said.
He also mentioned that Tokaj-Hegyalja is a special region of Hungary, “here the spirit of the place is that this is a place of spirit”. The birthplace of Prince Ferenc Rákóczi II, Sárospatak, the unshakeable bastion of Hungarian Reformation is nearby, this is the cradle of the modern Hungarian language, “and we have wine here,” he listed.
According to the Prime Minister, the fact that a university that teaches the craft of winemaking, pedagogy and the conservation of cultural heritage was brought here by a freedom fighter, Christian democratic government is the embodiment of necessity.
He said in the region great things will start happening soon also beyond the university, dozens of road development, urban reconstruction, tourism, agricultural and industrial projects will be launched. Development will start on a level which has been unprecedented in the past one hundred years, he stated.
In conclusion, Mr Orbán said “I sincerely hope that you will seize the opportunity, be the citizens of an ever stronger, ever more self-confident nation who are thirsty for wisdom and moral teaching”.