Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has told the Hungarian daily Magyar Idők that the “dress rehearsal” for the election campaign is under way, and at this point in time it is already clear that the outcome of the 2018 election will be crucial.
In the interview published in the newspaper’s Easter Saturday edition, the Prime Minister added that “National governance in Hungary is under continuous pressure and attack, and so in every election the most important thing at stake is whether we will have a parliament and a government that will seek to serve the best interests of the Hungarian people, or a parliament and a government that will seek to serve foreign interests”.
He continued by saying that “In 2010 we did not simply set out to govern the country. We wanted our homeland to be a country with a reborn spirit and an optimism and contentedness based on its own achievements.”
When asked how he sees the fact that many people do not recognise the image of an optimistic country he referred to, Mr. Orbán said that “We chose democracy as the modern Hungarian state’s mode of existence; and democracy is a system in which everyone is free to think and is free to form their opinions”. He remarked that “In a system based on argument and debate, differences in views are inevitable. The question is whether we have the ability to disagree peacefully”.
Mr. Orbán continued as follows: “We also have to take account of envy, which is likewise part of human nature. We should not forget the level that unemployment stood at when we entered office, how high household utility charges were, how much people paid in taxes, and the level of state debt. We gave people jobs, reduced household utility charges, reduced taxes, and also reduced government debt.”
When asked whether the front he is fighting on in this battle is too wide, the Prime Minister replied that “If we were to accept that Brussels or other political and financial centres should dictate to us, or that Hungarian or American billionaires should tell us how things should be in our country, then we would have no conflicts”. He stressed that “Today we live in a time when international politics is a battlefield. The independence and freedom of European nations are at stake. And at the centre of the battlefield is migration. In the present dress rehearsal for the election campaign, secondary battlefields are emerging in the form of the Soros university, the transparency of international lobbying organisations and financial stability.”
Mr. Orbán stressed that “The biggest debate in Europe today is about migration, this is what our future stands or falls on, the fate of Europe. The question is whether the character of European nations will be determined by the same spirit, civilisation, culture and mentality as in our parents’ and grandparents’ time, or by something completely different.”
Debates have been ignited, he said, by the fact that “those calling themselves liberal and left-wing – who are supported with the money, power and networks of international forces, with George Soros at the forefront – claim that taking action against migration is wrong, impractical and immoral”. He added that “In contrast with this, we want to preserve the foundations of Europe. We do not want parallel societies, we do not want population exchanges, and we do not want to replace Christian civilisation with a different kind. Therefore we are building fences, defending ourselves, and not allowing migrants to flood us”.
He also stressed that “Unlike the British, we are staying in the EU. We are not an island, our country and lives form part of Europe. This is our place. Our fate is bound together with the other countries on the continent. I see a single option: reform of the way the European Union operates. This is why in Brussels we are a reform opposition.”
When asked where his political community stands in terms of its chances in this struggle, Mr. Orbán replied that his national government’s mandate and majority are cast-iron, and its determination is undiminished. “There is also unity, and we have no debates that would compromise our capacity to act”, he said.
On this subject he added that “The differing views [on the Central European University] do not affect the overwhelming majority and unity which rejects migration and the Soros-style network hiding behind it”. He highlighted, however, that “the University is a sensitive issue, related to intellect and learning, and the issue of universities is an important and sensitive one – even if barely ten per cent of the students studying in the Soros institution are Hungarian”.
He added that in time it will become clear that the fears are unfounded, and everyone will eventually realise that this is not about closing universities, but about applying the laws equally to every Hungarian university.
“I do not believe that the civic intelligentsia will be happy to be allied with people whom the impending legislation will clearly show to be operating with foreign funding, serving foreign interests, and following instructions from abroad”, Mr. Orbán remarked. The Prime Minister added that “All this is about the fact that – through his organisations in Hungary, and hidden from the public gaze – George Soros is spending endless amounts of money to support illegal immigration. He wants to keep the pressure on Hungary: the country which expects even the likes of George Soros to observe its laws”. He stated that he believes that “George Soros must not be underestimated: he is a powerful billionaire of enormous determination who, when it comes to his interests, respects neither God nor man. We want to protect Hungary, and so we must also commit ourselves to this struggle”.
The Prime Minister stated that before every major decision he has attempted to involve the public in a debate on the most important issues. “With the national consultations I have sought to create points of national agreement”, he said, adding that when it comes to personal attacks against him, the words of Margaret Thatcher come to mind: “I always cheer up immensely if one is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.” He added that “Naturally, the Government is not beyond reproach, and a great many issues have yet to be addressed. There are things which can be criticised, but on the whole Hungary is gradually pulling itself together, and will soon find its feet.”
(MTI, Magyar Idők)