Birds of a Feather (2)

orbantrumpPrime Minister Viktor Orbán enthusiastically welcomed the election of Donald Trump to serve as the next president of the United States. Below are five statements that Prime Minister Orbán made regarding Trump’s November 8 election victory.

“Congratulations. What a great news. Democracy is still alive.” November 9, 2016 (source in English).

“What has happened is that reality has broken through the ideology. We are moving back to reality, which means [respecting] the views of real people and what they think, how they approach these questions – not to educate them, but accept them as they are, because they are the basis of democracy.” November 9, 2016 (source in English).

“It’s not my idea. It’s not an élite-launched political movement. It’s going on in the minds of the people, because they don’t like what we’re living in now—that kind of liberal non-democracy system.” November 9, 2016 (source in English).

“Now this [escape from ideological captivity] has happened in the United States and this gives the rest of the Western world the opportunity to break away from ideologies, from political correctness and the captivity of ways of thinking and speaking that have distanced themselves from the truth and finally we are returning to the ground of realities.” November 9, 2016 (source in Hungarian).

“The world will be a better place with the new American president, we have a good chance of this.” November 11, 2016 (source in Hungarian).

See Birds of a Feather (1).

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Propaganda Camp

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán prepares to speak at Tusnádfürdő on July 24, 2016 (photo: MTI).

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán prepares to deliver annual speech in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad) on July 24, 2016 (photo: MTI).

On July 24, 2016, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held his annual speech at the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp (Tusványos Nyári Szabadegyetem és Diáktábor) in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad), Romania.

Orbán, both as head of government and opposition leader, has long used the speech he makes at this camp in the predominantly Hungarian-inhabited Székely Land (Székelyföld) region of Romania to explicitly articulate his domestic political vision and his viewpoints on international affairs (see Proclamation of the Illiberal Hungarian State).

Prime Minister Orbán expressed two novel opinions in his 2016 Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp speech: first, he became the first leader of a sovereign state to endorse Donald Trump for president of the United States; and second, in answering a question following the speech, he advocated the creation of a common European military.

Below are Orange Files translations of several passages from Prime Minister Orbán’s July 24 speech in Tusnádfürdő (source in Hungarian).

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Thank you for permitting me to be here among you again with the passing of another year. The experience of seeing you again is, in itself, valuable and sets one’s heart in motion. This, in itself, would be a sufficient reason and motive for the existence of the free university [the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp], although the free university has for many years—for more than two decades—performed another function that truly manifests itself here only when the incumbent prime minister of Hungary speaks to you. That is to say, a situation has come into existence, a free-university space in which it is possible to speak about politics in a different way, in which it is possible to speak about difficult and complicated matters in a different way from that which politics, as a profession, forces [one to speak] the other 364 days of the year. Problems arise from this afterwards as well. Because European politics has already made steady use of the form of speaking about politics and major European affairs that maybe nobody other than the speaker understands, but which at least does not bring trouble down upon the heads of the speaker. The world of a free university is, however, different. If we don’t speak frankly here in a way that we, too, can understand about the dilemmas that torment us, which incidentally are not just our dilemmas, but which, as you will hear later, are dilemmas tormenting all of Europe, then the free university isn’t worth anything, then it’s not a free university, but a propaganda camp.

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We would not have previously thought this [to be possible], but it is now looking more and more like they have pushed Hungary out of the European mainstream and they have tried to interpret everything that we have done as not being an accepted part of European politics. Be it our constitution strengthening Christian foundations, be it our demographic policies, be it cross-border national unification—now, in retrospect, with the passing of a few years, these look more like advantages than disadvantages. Nobody can at this moment say for certain that over the coming years the European mainstream won’t proceed [along the path] onto which they tried to drive Hungary away from the European mainstream. This is how the black sheep become the flock, how the exception becomes the main direction.

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As I was listening to Bishop Tőkés [the previous speaker, Reformed bishop and Fidesz Member of the European Parliament László Tőkés] I realized that I shouldn’t have been at a loss for what to do last night [when I wrote this speech], but I should have called him up on the phone, because he provided the phrase that I should really be talking about here as my point of departure. He quoted Nehemiah: “Do not be afraid, but fight!”

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If I told an English, German or French young person that if you abide by the laws, respect your parents, finish your schooling normally and work diligently, you will surely get ahead, get farther and you will live better than your parents did, I am afraid that they would laugh at me. This is the promise of European life that has been shaken, which has been lost—and this will have serious consequences.

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Since we are members of the European Union, today I will speak about what the European Union must do differently in order for fear and uncertainty to disappear from the lives of Europeans. First of all, it must quit doing a few bad things. In the West they call one of these things denationalization, presenting in a positive light something which I think is a bad thing. In my opinion reducing national sovereignty in favor of [increased] European spheres of authority represents one of the greatest dangers in Europe today.

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The European Union has today become a regional player. At best, it is capable of influencing events that take place in its environment, though slowly we are seeing that [it is capable of] not even this this much, since the main player in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict is not the European Union, but the United States. We see that the European Union doesn’t play the main role in shaping events in the uncertain region of Syria, the Middle East and Iraq, but the United States and the Russians. Thus we must state that today the European Union is deceiving itself when it views itself as one of the global players in the global political space. We must recognize that today, if we even have the ability to influence world events outside our own territory, this is restricted to the region [immediately] surrounding us.  

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We [Hungarians] have no identity problem. Not even as much as the British, who don’t themselves know exactly if they are European or not. For a Hungarian, this is not a question: if you are Hungarian, then you are European. We have been, are and will be [European]—this is the motto of the camp.¹

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Migration represents a threat, it increases terrorism, increases crime; migration on a mass scale changes the cultural profile of Europe and migration on a mass scale destroys national culture.

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I am not Donald Trump’s campaign manager, I never would have thought that the notion would occur to me that among the full-fledged possibilities he would be the best for Europe and Hungary. I never would have thought it, but it is nevertheless the case that I listened to this candidate and I must tell you that he made three proposals to stop terrorism. I could have hardly expressed  better as a European that which Europe needs. He said that the world’s best secret service must be established in America, that this is the precondition to everything. I agree with this. [. . .] The second thing the straightforward [derék] American presidential candidate said was that the policy of exporting democracy must be stopped. I couldn’t have expressed this more precisely, because, in the end, why are a massive number of migrants coming to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea at this moment? Because the Europeans and later the Westerners [Western powers] acting under the auspices of the UN, they successfully—we successfully—managed to crush the undemocratic, though from the standpoint of border defense extremely stable, Libyan system without making sure that a new government capable of providing stability came into being. We did the same thing in Syria, we did the same thing in Iraq too. The notion is true, therefore, that if we continue to place democracy-building in the forefront instead of stability in a region in which the success of this is extremely doubtful, then we aren’t going to build democracy, but cause instability.

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This [the failure of democracy building] is a big lesson with regard to the current Turkish events as well, which I naturally do not want to qualify, though if they ask me what our greatest expectation is, what Hungary’s greatest expectation is toward Turkey, then we will put stability in the first place. Of course the quality of political life there is not indifferent for us. Neither are human rights indifferent for us, especially because it is a question of a country that formally still wants to join the European Union, where these are fundamental, expected preconditions, though all in all, from the perspective of current life, it is more important that several tens of millions of people not tumble down upon the European Union with no screening, control or impediment of any kind.

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This [data showing the projected population increases in Egypt, Uganda, Ethiopia and Nigeria by the year 2050] clearly show that the truly great pressure is going to arrive to the continent [of Europe] from Africa. Today we are talking about Syria, today we are talking about Libya, but really we must prepare for population pressure from the region behind Libya and the magnitude of this is going to be much greater than that which we have experienced so far. This warns us that we must steel our wills. Border defense, especially when fences must be built and people must be stopped there, is a difficult thing to interpret aesthetically, but believe me, we cannot defend borders and therefore ourselves with flowers and stuffed animals. We must face this thing. At the same time, it is very important, and for us also very important from the perspective of the image that the outside world formulates of us, that we make it clear that we are not heartless people, thus we are able to make a precise distinction between migrants and migration. In most cases the figure of the migrant—of course not including the terrorists— is a victim, whom the unfortunate situation, the increasingly difficult possibilities for subsistence at home, bad government, our bad, enticing migration policy and the human smugglers have made into victims. We understand this, we know this precisely. However, migration, as I said, is killing us. And migration is embodied in the person of the migrant, thus no matter how much we empathize with them and see them as victims, we must stop them at our fence and make it clear that whomever enters illegally must, according to the laws, be put in prison or expelled from Hungary. Esteemed ladies and gentlemen, esteemed free university, there is no friendlier form of defense. Of course [it must be] in a human, lawful and transparent manner, but we must resolutely do this.

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After all this I must state, summarizing what I have said so far, that Europe has lost its global role, has become as a regional player, is not capable of defending its own citizens, is not capable of defending its own external borders and is not capable of keeping the community together, since the United Kingdom has just left it. What more is needed for us to say that the European political leadership has failed. It cannot achieve a single one of its objectives. Thus when we convene in Bratislava in September, we don’t need beauty spots, sweeping under the carpet and whitewashing, but we must clearly state that we must come together and talk about the future of Europe because Europe’s present political leadership has failed. We must make it clear that our problem isn’t in Mecca, but in Brussels; for us, the Brussels bureaucrats represent the obstacle, not Islam.   

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Today “old Europe” means Europe that is incapable of change. They [old Europe] are the founding members of the European Union, they are they are the ones who introduced the eurozone and are very visibly stagnating. And there is another Europe, those whom were admitted to the European Union later, whom are said to be the “new Europe.” This, on the other hand, is viable, full of energy, capable of renewal and is looking for answers to the new challenges and thus forms an important part of our continent. This is why I think that perhaps the differentiation between the old and the new Europe is much less offensive for us now than it was previously.

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Today in Poland there is no economic crisis. In Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary—I don’t dare comment on the case of Romania—young people think that the old European dream is still valid: if they abide by the laws, if they respect their parents, if they listen to them and their advice regarding the future, and if they work diligently, then a Polish, a Czech, a Slovak and a Hungarian young person will certainly live better and get farther ahead than his [or her] parents. This is the European dream, this is still valid in the new Europe, in Central Europe.

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In response to a question following his speech, Prime Minister Orbán stated that NATO, though an “important and good thing,” is no longer capable of guaranteeing peace in Europe, thus he advocates the establishment of a common European army that could function “without the Anglo-Saxons [the United States and the United Kingdom] and the Russians.”

Orbán also expressed support for the creation of a common Visegrád Group army, though rejected the notion of expanding the number of members in the alliance composed of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

The prime minister said that the prospective common European and Visegrád Group armies were needed to defend Europe in the “east and south” and would be closely connected to defense of the continent against terrorism and migration (source in Hungarian).

 

¹ The motto of the 27th Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp: “We were, are and will be at home here in Europe” (Itthon voltunk, vagyunk, leszünk Európában).

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Prime Minister Orbán’s March 15 Speech

Prime Minister Orbán waves to audience following his speech on March 15, 2016 (photo: MTI).

Prime Minister Orbán waves to audience following his speech on March 15, 2016 (photo: MTI).

On March 15, 2016, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán delivered his annual speech outside the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest commemorating the anniversary of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution against Habsburg rule. Below is an Orange Files translation of the speech (source in Hungarian).

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Esteemed celebrators!

Europe is not free, because freedom starts with the statement of truth. Today in Europe it is forbidden to state the truth. Even if made of silk, a muzzle remains a muzzle. It is forbidden to state that those who are currently arriving are not refugees, but that a mass migration threatens Europe. It is forbidden to state that immigration brings crime and terror into our countries. It is forbidden to state that those who arrive from other civilizations represent a danger to our way of life, our culture, our customs and our Christian traditions. It is forbidden to state that instead of assimilating, those who arrived earlier have built a separate-entry world for themselves with their own laws and their own ideals that pry the millennial European frameworks apart. It is forbidden to state that this is not an incidental and unintentional chain of consequences, but a planned-out and guided action, a mass of people directed upon us. It is forbidden to state that in Brussels they are currently scheming to transport foreigners here as quickly as possible and to settle them among us. It is forbidden to say that the objective of this settlement is to redraw the religious and cultural patterns of Europe, to rebuild its ethnic footings, thereby eliminating the nation-states that represent the last impediment to the Internationale. It is forbidden to state that Brussels is today stealthily swallowing more and more slices of our national sovereignty, that in Brussels many are today working on the plan for a European United States for which nobody ever granted them the authority.

See entire speech.

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Holiday Tidings from Viktor and Co.

In the days prior to Christmas, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, National Assembly Speaker László Kövér and Prime Ministry chief János Lázár—the most powerful officials in the Orbán administration along with Prime Ministerial Cabinet Office chief Antal Rogán—conducted long interviews with the pro-government newspaper Magyar Idők, the pro-government website PestiSrácok.hu and the opposition newspaper Népszava, respectively. Below are Orange Files-translated quotes and excerpts from these interviews published between December 22 and December 24, 2015.

Prime Minister Orbán in Magyar Idők (source in Hungarian).

Regarding the Political Affiliation of Migrants

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (source: Magyar Idők).

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (source: Magyar Idők).

“According to available surveys, the large majority of immigrants will be left-wing voters. This factor upsets the entire system of European party-politics that developed from Christian foundations. In ten years, the people who have been let in now will be citizens along with their family members. We must clearly understand that the person who has come from Islam will not vote for a Christian-based party—we wouldn’t do this either in the opposite case—but will gravitate toward the left wing, because there it will at least not be necessary to come to terms with the Christian foundations. After a certain amount of time, if there are enough of them [migrants], they will organize their own political interest representation, which for the same reason will work together with the left wing. The traditional political balance of our continent, which is founded upon intellectual and political competition between the left wing and the right wing, will be overturned.”

Regarding Orbán Government and European Union Migration Policy

“We would have been happy if the majority of our European Union partners would have agreed from the beginning with what the Hungarian government thinks about the [migration] situation. If it would have been this way, today there would be a couple tens of thousands of genuine refugees in Europe, not one million migrants. However, most European leaders espoused the philosophy of Willkommenskultur and by the time they could modify their opinions the crisis had become unmanageable.”

Regarding Merkel Government Migration Policy

“Angela Merkel has been forced to govern in grand coalition since the most recent German elections. Not only does her Christian-democratic party, the CDU, not have a majority in the Berlin parliament, but the right wing, itself, does not have a majority either. Although the CDU won the elections, the only reason it can govern is that the left wing parties cannot come to an agreement with one another. I think that the German and European left has forced upon the German chancellor the migration policy that she is presently compelled to pursue.”

Regarding Hungary and Proposed European Union Migrant Resettlement Quotas

“Letting the migrants in is hardly a correctable mistake. Moreover, [there exists] this question of principle: can somebody from outside Hungary tell us ‘you Hungarians must live with people you don’t want to live with.’ This doesn’t depend on whether this means ten, one hundred or one million people. Here we are defending our national sovereignty. If the Hungarian parliament decides to do so, then we will accept refugees, though we will never under any circumstances allow Brussels to force a quota system upon us.”

Regarding European Union Integration

“The Eurozone is the core of the European Union—they [members of the Eurozone] must achieve new successes. For a long time these countries proceeded in the direction of deeper integration, though this process has faltered. If they can escape from this pitfall, then the future of the European Union could be beautiful. If not, then we must confront some truly serious issues throughout Europe.”

Regarding National Sovereignty

“The first [objective] would be to increase our national sovereignty. For the Hungarians, there is no European mass that represents a guaranteed better future in which we would be better off than as a strong nation. This is an important matter for us emotionally, historically and materially as well.”

Regarding Hungary’s European Union Developmental Funding

“It is worthwhile to clarify whether we are really getting their [the European Union’s] money. After forty years of communism, central Europe undertook competition with the capital-rich big Western companies. We opened our markets in such a way as to provide Western companies with an enormous advantage and they were able to gain profit-generating positions in our economies that we could never acquire in theirs. In spite of the legal possibility of competition, the difference in the scale of capital has long made this an illusion. We get the sums [of money] that we get in order to counterbalance this. Moreover, the business profit that leaves Hungary for the West reaches the magnitude of the amount of support that arrives from there.”

Regarding Eastern Europe and Same-Sex Marriage

“There exists a dividing line that begins in the Baltics and runs all the way along the western borders of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia [sic]. To the west of this line lie countries that, for example, have already abandoned family protection; everywhere to the east of the line, on the other hand, family-friendly policy has prevailed and nowhere is same-sex marriage accepted.”

Regarding Democracy and Freedom of the Speech in Hungary

“With regard to the alleged democracy problem, it is enough to say open one or two newspapers, surf around the internet and they will immediately see that the freedom of speech and opinion that represents the foundation and central element of every democracy is living and thriving and indeed is broader and deeper than in Western Europe—something which, by the way, I never would have believed [would be the case].”

Regarding Jobbik

“With regard to the right-wing opposition [Jobbik], one must simply show the truth—the criminal background that was always characteristic of the radical world in Hungary.”

Regarding China

“We must face the fact that China will become the number-one economic power in the world in the near future. A few years, and this will be true of its military power as well. Does anybody know, perchance, what kind of world this will be? What will our world be like if Anglo-Saxon dominance dissipates? How will the Chinese assert their interests? Will Europe be the rear courtyard or the front garden of this [process]?”

For more quotes from Prime Minister Orbán see Notable Quotes: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

National Assembly Speaker Kövér in PestiSrácok.hu (source in Hungarian).

Regarding the Enemies of the United States

National Assembly Speaker László Kövér (source: PestiSrácok.hu)

National Assembly Speaker László Kövér (PestiSrácok.hu)

“As a Hungarian political official and legislator I gradually and with even greater surprise faced the fact that the United States requires an enemy number one. Since the Soviet Union collapsed, it was necessary to find an enemy elsewhere. There was a time when everybody had to fight on the side of the USA against members of the Russian-speaking underworld, for example Semion Mogilevich. Subsequently there came an even more effective chief villain in the person of Osama bin Laden. Then after a period of uncertainty, they succeeded in identifying in the image of Russia a common enemy that would hold the empire together, thereby provoking a protracted conflict in Ukraine which—just coincidentally—divided Europe. Then the faceless demon of corruption appeared as the chief enemy threatening the national security of the USA from Alaska to Patagonia, from Greenland to the Antarctic.”

Regarding the Government Policy of the United States  

“I would be a mistake to moralize excessively regarding the unscrupulousness of American policy because it has a foundation in principle: the unrelenting representation of the business interests that stand behind the American government.”

Regarding the Pax Americana

“Many hoped in vain that after 1989, when the USA overwhelmed (legyűrte) the Soviet Union, that the liberal world peace, that is, the Pax Americana, had arrived. This is not what happened. There is a need for newer and newer enemies, conflicts and artificial disorder so that the military mechanism can remain in motion.”

Regarding the Military Intervention against the Islamic State

“Can anybody tell me which side is pursuing precisely what objectives in the campaign against the Islamic State? The countries of central Europe are playing the role of pawn in this game of chess, though it is fortunate that they are finally beginning to recognize their own interests. All of this began with the story of Cain and Abel and whoever has the most power always plays the role of Cain. Because he wants even more power.”

Regarding the Cause of the Migration Crisis

“None of this would have occurred if they [the West] hadn’t to bombed to pieces viable, though undoubtedly not overly elegant, states. Thus none of this would have taken place if the most important foundation of traditional world politics had prevailed—the maintenance of the status quo—and the West had not become entangled in adventurist actions that brought even more deadly chaos upon the liberated peoples in place of the murderous régimes. Still I can’t believe that the fact that Europe hasn’t been so weak for a long time causes a big headache for the United States. It [Europe] has hardly recovered from the global economic crisis, which, nota bene, the United States again dumped on our heads, and the second unsolvable crisis is already here—migration.”

Regarding the Motives for Settling Migrants

“The president of the Daimler concern made it clear not long ago: they need migrants for maintaining economic growth and to somehow counterbalance the consequences of the country’s [Germany’s] demographic catastrophe. Of course, it will not be big industry that will pay the social expenses of migration—for them it is enough if ten percent of the immigrants are capable of undertaking work. The taxpayers will support the rest. And here is where the twist comes: the mass of migrants represents not only cheap labor, but at the same time the electoral base that means survival for the left wing which everywhere is being squeezed from the vicinity of power.”

Regarding Left-Wing Political Strategy

“Permanent liberation is the vital component (lételem) of the left wing. They always want to coax more and more multitudes of people into the status of oppressed pariah in order to produce the possibility of ‘liberation.’ I would not like to offend migrants of the Muslim faith, but with regard to the liberateable (felszabadítható) masses, there is no difference between them and, let’s say, transgender people in the eyes of the left wing.”

Regarding the Social Responsibility of Raising Children

“Under what right do those—and I am not thinking of people who cannot raise a child due to circumstances beyond their control—who do nothing for the birth of new generations expect anything from the community? . . . Those who regard emphasis on the importance of raising children in itself to represent unacceptable interference in the intimate sphere should not when old and sick ask anything of those who responsibly and affectionately raised tax-paying children who are capable of sustaining society.”

Regarding the Private vs. the Public Sphere

“I consider the demand that nobody interfere in the lives of others to be a strange attitude. What are the legal and continually dwindling moral rules regarding social coexistence all about if not that the community and society ‘interfere’ in the lives of its members.”

For more quotes from National Assembly Speaker Kövér see: National Assembly Speaker László Kövér.

Prime Ministry Chief Lázár in Népszava (source in Hungarian).

Regarding Hungary’s European Union Developmental Funding

Prime Ministry chief János Lázár (source: Népszava).

Prime Ministry chief János Lázár (source: Népszava).

“We indeed receive resources and assistance necessary for our catching up (felzárkózásunk) through the EU Cohesion Fund. We get this because in 2004 we said the free flow of capital, people and goods can take place, we provided access to our markets, we have no protective tariffs. This was very much worth it for the European Union. Nine trillion forints is a lot of money, of which we paid in three trillion forints, thus five-six trillion forints is what Hungary receives in net terms from the EU. We also pay [contributions to the European Union], for example, in that we cannot protect our own products with tariffs, that there are few Hungarian banks and so on. We relinquished a significant portion of our national self-determination. We will never know how much the German economy gained from the 2004 central European enlargement. [It was] very much. Much more than they give to us.”

Regarding European Union Integration

“Let there be no misunderstanding—we do not want to deepen integration any further. From our standpoint, the EU is primarily an economic community of values and interests—not a political one. However, they now want to force political values upon us. I accept that for them this is a value and I respect this as well, but Hungarian society cannot and will not accept this [idea] as its own. There was no question of this in 2004.”

Regarding European Union Integration

“The Visegrád Group [Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary] regards the new level of integration with concern. Brussels wants to shove deepening integration down our throats and is using the immigrants to do this. We do not want to surrender any more of our sovereignty. The most important question over the next ten years from Hungary’s point of view is how much independence it will be possible to preserve. This is the essence of Fidesz policy—everything must be seen in this light. We want more Hungary and less Brussels.”

Regarding Founding Members of Fidesz within the Party Leadership

I am prepared to recognize that there is strong cohesion among the founders of Fidesz—they can truly finish one another’s sentences. I don’t see dictatorship of opinion in this: they are just this way—they think alike. One of the greatest experiences of my political career was the meeting of the Fidesz presidium at which we debated the draft of the Fundamental Law. The participants in the debate—Viktor Orbán, László Kövér, János Áder and József Szájer—were not only capable of finishing one another’s sentences, but represented a haute école of politics.

Regarding Political Refugees vs. Economic Migrants

“Everybody quickly recognized that these [the 2015 migrants to Europe] weren’t political refugees. We do not want to accept economic immigrants.”

Regarding Non-European Migration to Europe

“We must support [the notion] that everybody be allowed to prosper in their own homeland. We cannot permit part of the world to depart for Europe just because they live worse in 150 countries than they do in the European Union.”

Regarding Immigration to Hungary

“Hungary is in a special situation. If we need labor or tax payers, then we can call Hungarians home from Subcarpathian Ukraine or the Vojvodina (Délvidék). We don’t need to undertake the social and cultural risk of accepting massive groups of immigrants since there are no linguistic or cultural differences with our compatriots beyond the borders—they are us.”

For more quotes from Prime Ministry chief Lázár see: Minister in Charge of the Prime Ministry János Lázár.

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Orbán Government Notable Quotes: October 1–2, 2015

Prime Ministry Chief János Lázár:

“They regularly find people [migrants] infected with syphilis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV as well.” October 1, 2015, speaking about the migration crisis during his regular Thursday press conference (source in Hungarian).

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán:

“Eighty percent of the immigrants are young men. They resemble an army more than they do asylum-seekers. They are uneducated, the majority of them speak only Arabic.” October 2, 2015, speaking on pro-government Kossuth Radio (source in Hungarian).

“Let’s not regard what the Croatian prime minister says as the opinion of the Croatian people. The Croatian prime minister and his party are the representatives of the Socialist International whose job it is to attack Hungary.” October 2, 2015, speaking on pro-government Kossuth Radio in reference to tension between the governments of Hungary and Croatia over the migration crisis (source in Hungarian).

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán during October 2, 2015 interview on Kossuth Radio (photo: index.hu)

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán during October 2, 2015 interview on Kossuth Radio (photo: index.hu)

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The Alienator

Prime Minister Orbán (center) arrives for his annual speech at the Tusványos Summer University (photo: Viktor Orbán Facebook page).

Prime Minister Orbán (center) arrives for his annual speech at the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp (photo: Viktor Orbán Facebook page).

Following his annual speech at the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp (Nyári Szabadegyetem és Diáktábor) in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad), Romania, on July 25, 2015, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary put photos of the event on his personal Facebook page (source in Hungarian). These photos included an image of lapel pins being sold at the summer university, some of which depict the Greater Hungary—which included Transylvania and other territories that are now part of Romania—that existed for 500 years during the Middle Ages (until 1526) and reemerged for 50 years at the time of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (until 1918).

Photo from Prime Minister Orbán's Facebook page.

Photo from Prime Minister Orbán’s Facebook page.

On July 27, Romania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs protested Prime Minister Orbán’s display of these images of Greater Hungary on its Facebook page, declaring that “Unfortunately, only one day after he called for pragmatism and ‘efficent’ Romanian-Hungarian relations, Hungarian Prime Minister V. Orban chose to post on his Facebook account images including symbols of Greater Hungary and of the Székely Land. The Hungarian prime minister’s personal promotion of these revisionist symbols is completely unacceptable . . .” (source in Romanian).

Later on July 27, the Orbán government issued the following response on its website (source in English):

The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has criticised Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for uploading pictures on his Facebook page which it says depict revisionist symbols. Responding to a question on the issue from Hungarian news agency MTI, Press Chief of the Prime Minister’s Office Bertalan Havasi said that the images are of historical symbols. 

During a television interview later that evening, Prime Minister Victor Ponta of Romania characterized Prime Minister Orbán as “offensive” and “provocative” (source A in Hungarian and source B in Romanian).

One can add the Ponta government in Romania to the long list of national governments and international organizations that Prime Minister Orbán has alienated through his short-sighted nationalism since returning to power in 2010. 

For information regarding Prime Minister Orbán’s 2015, 2014 and 2013 speeches at the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp see: He Talks Again; Proclamation of the Illiberal Hungarian State; and The Friends You Keep.

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He Talks Again

Picture 5Thick neck sticking up out of his collarless non-Western shirt he talks again at the Fidesz “summer university” in Transylvania about the decline of Europe and the West and the fateful perils that face the Hungarian nation (and against which he, alone, can defend it). This year’s catastrophe: Muslim “illegal immigrants” who threaten to adulterate Hungarian Christian-nationalist culture and commit acts of terrorism and who have caused nothing but problems everywhere they have gone, such as Sweden, where the frequency of reported rape is the second highest in the world (behind Lesotho). “Europe is for the Europeans!” he says in his throaty voice, delivering the same old alarmist message that has had an astounding range of actors over the decades since he began with Li Peng, Pol Pot, Jaruzelski and Rákosi in 1989 (see Fill in the Blanks).

Picture 4But something has changed: in the past he spoke with easy fluency and conviction, as recently as one year ago when he proclaimed the foundation of the illiberal Hungarian state at the very same event (see Proclamation of the Illiberal Hungarian State); now he is reading his speech, not looking up from the text for long periods of time, pausing, using gestures to channel his thoughts in the prescribed direction. Although he tried to make it look like he was speaking his own words, publishing a photo on his Facebook page showing him sitting with pen in hand next to a coffee and a glass of orange juice with the caption “the speech is done,” it was indeed not him talking on this day, but his political strategists, Habony and Finkelstein, trying to regain the old magic with a new boogeyman which might also be able to put a halt to the steady rise of Jobbik and the radical nationalists. Only one memorable quote from the entire speech, this aimed at domestic political foes rather than refugees: “In 2004 the Hungarian left wing incited hatred against the Hungarians living outside Hungary, while today they would embrace illegal immigrants with open arms. . . . These are the people, these are the politcal officials who simply don’t like Hungarians and the reason they don’t like them is that they are Hungarians” (source in Hungarian).

Even in his most mundane speeches his exceptional vigor and intelligence have always shown through. But on this day, billed as one on which he would say something big, he appeared dull, lifeless and lethargic, even somewhat obtuse. An exhausted old political fighter. A spent force.

Glad to get that over with (photo: index.hu).

Happy to be done with it (photo: index.hu).

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