Notable Quotes: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán

Fidesz Revolution

“It is not simply a matter of the sixth free election in Hungary. A much more important thing happened on this day in Hungary. Today a revolution took place in the voting booths.” April 25, 2010, speaking after Fidesz secured a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly following the second round of national elections that day (source in Hungarian).

“In 2010 Hungary pulled itself together and carried out a revolution.” March 28, 2014, during an interview with journalist and  Zsolt Bayer on the pro-government television station EchoTV, referring to the 2010 National Assembly elections that brought the second Orbán government to power (source in Hungarian at 4:29). 

“Over the past four years a revolution truly has taken place in this country. This revolution has taken place not on the streets and squares, but in the soul. It was fought not with swords and blood, but with the heart and faith.” May 10, 2014, speaking after taking the oath of office as prime minister for the new parliamentary cycle (source in English).

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Jobbik

“If we want to protect democracy, we must take a firm stand against Jobbik. Jobbik has developed a political ideology that quite obviously violates the human rights of Jews at both an individual and community level.” May 3, 2013 interview in the Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth (source in English).

“It is a big misconception to think that dissatisfaction expresses itself only via the left-wing. A radical right-wing force has appeared that is capable of expressing dissatisfaction toward us with greater credibility—with different logic and on different foundations.”  March 29, 2014, during an interview in the pro-government newspaper Magyar Hírlap (source in Hungarian). 

“You [Jobbik] are full of criminals, criminals have stood behind you, criminals support you. You are a kept (kitartott) party. I recommend that you stand before the public and divulge this!” December 15, 2015, speaking to Jobbik President Gábor Vona during a meeting of the National Assembly (source in Hungarian).

“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.” December 24, 2015, during interview in the pro-government daily newspaper Magyar Idők (source in Hungarian).

The Hungarian Guard and Jobbik

“We cannot permit even chicken theft to remain unpunished, though neither can we tolerate the wish of paramilitary organizations to deliver extrajudicial justice. . . . For my part, I am not going to contribute to our march out of civilization.” July 15, 2010, after attending a meeting of the National Assembly caucus of the opposition Jobbik party (source in Hungarian).

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Anti-Semitism

“As long as I am standing in this position, nobody in Hungary can be harmed because of his faith, conviction or origin. I would like to make it clear . . . that we, Hungarians, will defend our Jewish compatriots.” December 3, 2012, speaking at a plenary session of the National Assembly (source in Hungarian). 

“My governments, both the current and previous, have declared zero-tolerance toward anti-Semitism and have turned with compassion toward the victims, those who wish to commemorate them and believers in human dignity.” February 20, 2014 statement in letter to the main Hungarian Jewish organization Mazsihisz in which he requested postponing dialogue regarding the controversial memorial to the German occupation of Hungary to be erected in central Budapest (source in Hungarian).

The Holocaust

“The way I see it, we Hungarians have done everything we could do. We asked for forgiveness even though we know that the crime of collaboration with the perpetrators of genocide is unforgivable. We have given reparations even though we know that what took place is irreparable. At the same time, we will not recognize responsibility that does not apply to us. That is why we must state straightforwardly that without German occupation there would have been no deportation, no wagons and no hundreds of thousands of lives lost. Without this understanding it is difficult to imagine sincere coexistence built upon trust. Yet it was our generation that espoused radical anti-communist political beliefs precisely because it had had enough of living an insincere existence built upon mistrust.”  April 29, 2014, with regard to the Holocaust in response to a letter of complaint from Hungarian Academy of Arts member Katalin Dávid regarding the memorial under construction in Budapest to the German occupation of Hungary in March 1944 (source in Hungarian). 

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History: Horthy and Szálasi

“Does anybody refer to Horthy as a dictator? Ferenc Szálasi was a dictator.” June 16, 2012 interview in Austrian daily newspaper Die Presse, in response to question that referred to Hungary’s interwar head of state Miklós Horthy as a “dictator” (source in German).

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The System Change

“Therefore I believe it would be of more use if we would regard the System Change as a closed historical process and a storehouse of experience and not as the point of departure for thinking about the future.” July 26, 2014, speaking at the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad), Romania (source in Hungarian).

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The National Economy

“We need major capitalists, successful entrepreneurs with billions of forints at their disposal. If not, then foreigners are going to take everything in this country and, I am convinced, whether you know this or not, when you talk against Hungarian capital, you are engaging in Labanc politics.” May 5, 2012, responding in National Assembly to suggestion of opposition representative that the Fidesz government was establishing an economic oligarchy (source in Hungarian).

“Public utilities are not there so people can make money from them—this sector does not belong to the world of profit.” November 30, 2012, speaking on state-run Kossuth Radio five days before the government announced its first 10-percent reduction in centrally regulated fees for gas, electricity and district heating (source in Hungarian).

“The banks and the companies with monopolies must get used to the new situation. Now we are the stronger ones and they must adapt to the Hungarian people. Nobody is going to gain extra profit at the expense of the Hungarian people ever again. The era of colonization is over.” September 13, 2013, speaking on the opening day of the fall session of the National Assembly (source in Hungarian).

The Peace Marches/National Economy

“From a current-political perspective, in 2012 they [the pro-government Peace March Demonstrations] protected our national sovereignty against the international financial-world, Brussels bureaucrats and big international companies operating in monopoly.” March 29, 2014, during an interview in the pro-government newspaper Magyar Hírlap (source in Hungarian).

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The Hungarian Socialist Party 

“In 2006, after 16 years of democracy, on this day they hunted for us on the streets of Budapest. They ordered a cavalry charge and assaulted peaceful demonstrators with the broadside of swords. We know that this could take place because government power was in the hands of those who utilized the armed forces of the state against its own people without inhibition. We know very well, let there be no doubt about it: today they would shoot among us again—with rubber bullets in the best case.” October 23, 2013, speaking on the anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution in reference to the police dispersal of anti-government demonstrators on October 23, 2006 (source in Hungarian).

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Minority Government

“I have never led a minority government and I never will . . . It is not good for democracy. We need a majority government. If I do not have a majority, then someone else must form a government. If no one else is capable of doing so, we will go to new elections. There will not be a minority government, which in my view would be terrible for Hungary.” May 3, 2013 interview in the Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth (source in English).

Becoming President 

“The chance that I will be president of the republic are under zero.” May 26, 2015 (source in Hungarian).

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Christianity

“The way in which Christian origins, traditions and outlook upon life is not sufficiently acknowledged in the institutions of the European Union still hurts millions of European people to this day. Christianity is not only a religion, but is also a culture on which we have built a whole civilisation. This is not a choice, but a fact. If people feel that European politics is fighting against their own origins and are ashamed to admit that we are really a Christian continent, this will only alienate more people from the European Union.” May 8, 2014, speaking at the European Forum Conference in Berlin (source in English).

Family Structure 

“There are many of us in Europe that adhere to the Christian concept of the family. We are not saying that other forms of co-habitation are not possible; however, we have to say that in Christian Europe the family is the union between a man and a woman.” May 8, 2014speaking at the European Forum Conference in Berlin (source in English). 

“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.” December 24, 2015, during interview in the pro-government daily newspaper Magyar Idők (source in Hungarian).

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The Death Penalty

“Although we believed that we had settled questions connected to the Hungarian criminal code and criminal prosection when we introduced the three strikes and life imprisonment without parole, the issue of the death penalty must be kept on the agenda in Hungary and we must let it be known that we do not shy away from anything.” April 28, 2015, (source in Hungarian).

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Work-Based Society

“Not everybody in Hungary today is unemployed because they don’t get work. It would be a big mistake to place an equal sign between those who want to work and don’t get work and those who could work, but think that it is more comfortable to live on assistance or other state benefits and in addition can make money doing this and that. If from nothing else, well then from hen theft.” February 7, 2011, during the annual State of the State Address (source in Hungarian)

“If the private sector is not capable of giving everyone a job, which is currently the case in Europe, the state needs to step in, play a rational role and strive to realise full employment. This is what we call a society based on work in Hungary. We reduced the period during which unemployment benefits are paid from nine months to three months, and instead of providing benefits, the state attempts to offer everyone employment, which we will truly manage to do perhaps next year. This is what we call the workfare state.” May 8, 2014speaking at the European Forum Conference in Berlin (source in English). 

“Until now we have known three forms of state organization: the nation-state, the liberal state and the welfare state. But the question is, what will take place now? The Hungarian answer is that an age of the work-based state can begin, we want to organize a work-based society . . .” July 26, 2014, speaking at the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad), Romania (source in Hungarian). 

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Sports 

“We live in a crazy world. It is not easy to raise the young generation well and it is my conviction that the single method of education that helps to make the young generation successful and able to stand its ground in the world is sports.” May 15, 2015, speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new aquatic-sports center in Budapest (source in Hungarian).

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Emigration from Hungary 

“It is absurd when they speak in Hungary with political overtones about people emigrating from Hungary to Germany or London. They are not emigrating, since we, ourselves, wanted a common economic sphere to come into existence, where it is free to take on employment.” January 18, 2015, speaking on pro-government Hungarian Radio (source in Hungarian). 

Hungarian Linguistic Isolation 

“I speak the only language that nobody understands.” May 15, 2014, speaking at the Global Security Forum in Bratislava, Slovakia (source in English).

Being Hungarian

“One can be elegant as a Hungarian, one can be non-provincial as a Hungarian, it is possible to eat with a knife and fork as a Hungarian, it is possible to speak in a foreign language as a Hungarian and it is possible to take part in international discourse as a Hungarian.” March 9, 2015, during annual speech to Hungarian diplomats (source in Hungarian). 

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Immigration/Migration

“Economic immigration is a bad thing in Europe. It shouldn’t be seen as something that is of any use at all, because it just brings difficulty and danger to the European person. This is why immigration must be stopped. This is the Hungarian viewpoint.” January 11, 2015, speaking to Hungarian Television reporter while in Paris to attend the Republican Marches against terrorism (source in Hungarian).

“At the same time, one must make it very definitely clear that we will not permit—at least as long as I am the prime minister and as long is this government exists—it will not happen that Hungary becomes the target of immigrants.” January 11, 2015, speaking to Hungarian Television reporter while in Paris to attend the Republican Marches against terrorism (source in Hungarian).

“We do not want to see among us significant minorities that possess different cultural characteristics and background than us. We would like to preserve Hungary as Hungary.” January 11, 2015, speaking to Hungarian Television reporter while in Paris to attend the Republican Marches against terrorism (source in Hungarian).

“We want no more people to come. Those who are here, go home!” May 8, 2015, speaking about the refugee camp in Debrecen, the largest in Hungary (source in Hungarian). 

“This camp must not be developed, but closed and those who live in it sent home!” May 8, 2015, speaking about the refugee camp in Debrecen, the largest in Hungary (source in Hungarian). 

“We would like it if Europe would continue to belong to the Europeans.” May 19, 2015, speaking during a European Parliament plenary-session debate regarding the Orbán government’s stance on immigration and the death penalty (source in Hungarian). 

“Now they are calling us to account because we don’t argue in the questionnaires that you have to like immigrants. After all of this, why should we like them?”  June 5, 2015, speaking with regard to the government’s National Consultation on Immigration and Terrorism on pro-government state-run Kossuth Radio (source in Hungarian).

“There is no political persecution in either Serbia, Macedonia or Greece. Thus those who arrive here have come from countries where they don’t qualify as refugees. They don’t have to flee from there, thus I would like to make it clear that everybody, regardless of why they left their homeland, is a subsistence immigrant (megélhetési bevándorló) once they arrive in Hungary, because they could have stayed in Serbia as well.” June 5, 2015, speaking with regard to the government’s National Consultation on Immigration and Terrorism on pro-government state-run Kossuth Radio (source in Hungarian).  

“There is no chance, we are going to send you back. This continent will not be your homeland, you have your own homeland, this is our homeland, we built it. We will gladly work together with you, we have our laws, respect them if you want to come here, which also has its own regulations. But it is impossible that you run across our fences and our borders in a way that violates the law.” July 3, 2015, on what to say to migrants who intend to enter Hungary illegally (source in Hungarian)..

“I have to say that when it comes to living together with Muslim communities, we are the only ones who have experience because we had the possibility to go through that experience for 150 years.” September 3, 2015, during joint press conference with European Council President Donald Tusk in reference to the Ottoman occupation of central Hungary in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (source in English).

“If we let everybody in we will destroy Europe.” September 5, 2015 (source in Hungarian).

“As long as we do not make it clear to the immigrants that everybody is defending the European borders, thus not only Spain and not only Hungary, but everybody is defending them and we are capable of keeping immigration within controlled boundaries . . . then tens of millions [of migrants] will come. They will come as long as we do not do this. And the way I see it, in Europe political officials are hesitating to say this.” September 5, 2015 (source in Hungarian).

“The majority of those [migrants] who are now arriving are economic immigrants.” September 6, 2015, during interview with Austrian state-run television ORF (source in Hungarian).

“The borders of Europe must be closed.” September 6, 2015, during interview with Austrian state-run television ORF (source in Hungarian).

“When there is an issue [regarding migration], then we cannot count on the help of either the Serbs or the Croats from the south. The worse news is that we cannot count on it from the West either, though it was already this way with János Hunyadi as well.” September 18, 2015, during interview on state-run Kossuth Radio in reference to 15th-century Hungarian general and regent János Hunyadi, who organized the successful defense of the southern borders of the Kingdom of Hungary from the Ottoman Turks (source in Hungarian).

“Not several thousand, not several hundred thousand, but several million people are laying siege to the borders of Europe” September 21, 2015referring to the migration crisis during speech at Hungarian Parliament Building (source in Hungarian).  

“Our borders have come under danger, our lifestyle built upon respect for the law is in danger, Hungary and all of Europe are in danger.” September 21, 2015referring to the migration crisis during speech at Hungarian Parliament Building (source in Hungarian).

“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).

“The large majority of migrants come from countries in which EU soldiers are conducting operations, thus we are at war. Thus the enemy is there.” November 20, 2015, during regular Friday-morning interview on pro-government Kossuth Radio (source in Hungarian). 

“Of course it’s not accepted, but the factual point is that all the terrorists are basically migrants. The question is when they migrated to the European Union.” November 23, 2015, during interview with U.S. news website Politico (source in English).

“The situation must be put in order in Syria and everybody who came from there must be legally obliged to go back in order to begin rebuilding the world from which they came.” December 4, 2015, during interview on state-run Kossuth Radio (source in Hungarian). 

“Earlier we thought that there was some kind of cunning in the fact that Western European leaders support immigration saying that it would be useful for Europe. We thought that they also thought this comes with dangers, but for some reason where saying otherwise. But we must believe that Western European leaders say what they say because they really believe it, that this makes Europe better, that the migration of peoples is a good thing. I think it is a crazy thought, but they seriously believe it. . . .” December 4, 2015, during interview on state-run Kossuth Radio (source in Hungarian). 

“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.” December 24, 2015, during interview in the pro-government daily newspaper Magyar Idők (source in Hungarian). 

Proposed European Union Migrant Quotas

“Only we can make the decision about who we want to live with. They can’t say this in Brussels and Brussels cannot settle people here who we don’t want to live with.” December 4, 2015, during  interview on state-run Kossuth Radio (source in Hungarian). 

“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.” December 24, 2015, during interview in the pro-government daily newspaper Magyar Idők (source in Hungarian). 

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Multiculturalism 

“We do not want a multicultural society.” February 5, 2015, during interview with the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (source in Hungarian).

We regard it to be a value that Hungary is a homogenous country and that it shows a very homogenous face in its culture, way of thinking and customs of civilization.” May 19, 2015, speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg prior to a plenary-session debate regarding the Orbán government’s stance on immigration and the death penalty (source in Hungarian).

“There is no road back from multicultural Europe to either Christian Europe or to the world of national cultures.” June 2, 2015, speaking at a conference in honor of former Chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl in Budapest (source in Hungarian). 

“Hungary has a multi-nationality root system and cultural background, but this is not multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is the cohabitation of people of various civilizations, the coexistence of Islam, Asian religions and Christianity. We will do everything under our power to spare Hungary from this. We gladly see investors, artists and scientists arriving from non-Christian countries, but we do not want to mix with them at the level of large masses of people.” June 3, 2015, during interview in the pro-government daily Napi Gazdaság (source in Hungarian).

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Liberal Democracy

“Today the hit theme in thought is understanding those systems which are not western, not liberal, not liberal democracies, perhaps not even democracies at all, and nevertheless make nations successful. Today the stars in international analyses . . . Singapore, China, India, Russia, Turkey.”  July 26, 2014, speaking at the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad), Romania (source in Hungarian). 

“The Hungarian nation is not a mere agglomeration of individuals, but a community, which must be organized, strengthened and, in fact, built. In this sense, therefore, the new state that we are building in Hungary is an illiberal state, not a liberal state. It does not deny the fundamental values of liberalism, such as freedom, and I could bring up a few more, but does not make this ideology the central element of state organization . . . ” July 26, 2014, speaking at the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad), Romania (source in Hungarian). 

“A liberal democracy would not have been capable of taking on the utility bills, of extending a helping hand to the hundreds of thousands of foreign-currency borrowers, of taxing the multinationals, the major energy companies and the banks.” September 27, 2014, speaking at a meeting of the executive committee of the Christian Democratic People’s Party (source in Hungarian).  

‘‘Hungarians welcomed illiberal democracy. The fact that in English it means something else is not my problem. In the Hungarian context, the word liberal has become negative. Liberal democracy has no or very little support in Hungary. What I want to say is that it’s not true that a democracy can only be liberal. There’s democracy in Hungary period, it doesn’t need any modifiers.” December 14, 2014, speaking in interview with Bloomberg (source in English). 

Liberalism

“Liberalism in Europe now concentrates not on freedom but on political correctness. It became a sclerotic ideology. Dogmatic, may I say. The liberals are enemies of freedom.” November 23, 2015, during interview with U.S. news website Politico (source in English). 

“That which our opponents represent has nothing to do with the thoughts of the great liberal forefathers—it is sheer nihilism. This nihilistic outlook has furtively settled upon world and European Union institutions. It even has known representatives, such as Juncker, Verhofstadt and Schulz. In society, the nihilists are in the minority, though they long ago took over the European élite.” September 11, 2016, speaking at the annual Civil Picnic in Kötcse, Hungary (source in Hungarian).

Democracy

“. . .how can it be that European people hold democracy in ever greater esteem—we Hungarians are also this way—than non-democratic systems, yet it is still the latter that are successful?” May 15, 2015 (source in Hungarian). 

Illiberal Democracy 

“[The term] illiberal democracy sounds perfectly good in Hungarian, although in English it sounds like a blood libel.” May 19, 2015, speaking during a European Parliament plenary-session debate regarding the Orbán government’s stance on immigration and the death penalty (source in Hungarian). 

Communism/National Socialism

“Today nobody disputes that, just as national socialism, communism was a crazy ideology, nobody disputes the crimes of communism, though . . . we had to travel a long and rough road in order to reach this.” November 21, 2015, speaking at a ceremony in Budapest commemorating Hungarian political prisoners and forced laborers in the Soviet Union following the Second World War (source in Hungarian).

“Today it is no longer usually mentioned that the thoughts that have led to tyranny sprang forth from Western minds in the twentieth century. Communism—as National Socialism—saw the light of day as a Western intellectual product. They didn’t invent it in Moscow or Cambodia or even in Havana, but to the West of us and it proliferated from Europe throughout half the world.” February 25, 2017, during speech commemorating Hungary’s Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Communism (source in Hungarian from 3:36)

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Democratic Checks and Balances

“Checks and balances is a U.S. invention that for some reason of intellectual mediocrity Europe decided to adopt and use in European politics.” December 14, 2014, speaking in interview with Bloomberg (source in English).

Civil Liberties in Hungary vs. the West

“The freedom of conscience, expression and the press is more colorful, broad and profound in Hungary than it is to the West of us.” December 13, 2015, during the 26th Party Congress of Fidesz (source in Hungarian).

“With regard to the alleged democracy problem [in Hungary] , 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].” December 24, 2015, during interview in the pro-government daily newspaper Magyar Idők (source in Hungarian). 

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The European Union

“True to our oath, in 1848 we did not let Vienna dictate to us, just as we did not let Moscow dictate to us in either 1956 or 1990. And we will not let anybody dictate to use now either, from Brussels or anywhere else.” March 15, 2011, speaking during the annual March 15 commemoration at the National Museum in Budapest (source in Hungarian). 

“Europe is staggering toward its own moonstruck ruin.” July 28, 2012, during annual speech at the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad), Romania (source in Hungarian).

“They will continue to protest against the bank tax and the extraordinary taxes. These groups continue to be our adversaries in Brussels, though now there are many more cartridges in the magazine than there were earlier.” November 16, 2013, speaking on Hungarian Television regarding the “interest groups” that oppose his the government’s policies within the European Union (source in Hungarian).

Hungary and the European Union

“In the European Union elections we must tell Brussels loudly and resolutely: respect the Hungarians!” May 10, 2014, speaking after taking the oath of office as prime minister for the new parliamentary cycle (source in English).

“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.” December 24, 2015, during interview in the pro-government daily newspaper Magyar Idők (source in Hungarian).

Hungary and 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.” December 24, 2015, during interview in the pro-government daily newspaper Magyar Idők (source in Hungarian).

Hungary and NATO

“NATO is the free association of free countries and within this framework we do not intend to renounce our right to make decisions ourselves.” February 20, 2015, during interview with the Russian business daily Kommersant (source in Hungarian). 

Hungary and the European Union and NATO 

“Hungary is part of the Western alliance system, NATO and the European Union. There is no doubt about this, nor will there be during our administration. We are, however, members of these alliances and not hostages.” May 10, 2014, speaking after taking the oath of office as prime minister for the new parliamentary cycle (source in English). 

“Let’s also fight against anybody talking about withdrawing from the European Union or NATO.” May 29, 2015, in tacit reference to radical-nationalist party Jobbik (source in Hungarian). 

Domestic Political Enemies and the European Union

“Those who did not succeed in blocking Hungary’s renewal and development are now trying to do so in Brussels just as they have until this time. Do not forget, the fallen left-wing is always prepared to incite journalists, European Union institutions, banks, cartels and multi-national companies. They are prepared to write Tavares reports and to propagate lies about Hungary.” May 10, 2014, speaking after taking the oath of office as prime minister for the new parliamentary cycle (source in English).

The United States of Europe

“I consider policy that aims to sacrifice the one-thousand-year-old Hungary on the altar of some kind of European United States to be dangerous and extremist for the Hungarian people.” May 10, 2014, speaking after taking the oath of office as prime minister for the new parliamentary cycle (source in English).

“In Europe nations are the reality, while the European United States is the utopia. Here in Europe it is a utopia. Because there are several-thousand-year-old national roots, which if cut would be tantamount to suicide.” November 8, 2014, writing with regard to former Chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl’s book Worrying About Europe (Aus Sorge um Europa) (source in Hungarian).

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The International Monetary Fund

“When it is an issue of our having an economic policy that is not built upon our taking away pensions, curtailing social support, reducing family support and so on, but our trying to protect pensioners, to defend those living on their wages and pay and to maintain the cultural standards of the country, then we can come into conflict with representatives of the IMF: this is what happened.” August 24, 2013, during an interview broadcast on the Romanian news station Digi 24 (source in Hungarian).

“We thank the IMF for the help, gentlemen are not rogues [csibész]: they helped us out at a difficult time, but we don’t want to cooperate further.” August 24, 2013, during an interview broadcast on the Romanian news station Digi 24 (source in Hungarian).

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Non-Government Organizations

“Now in contrast to this, if I take a look at Hungary’s civil sphere, that which plays a regular role in public affairs—the controversy surrounding the Norway Fund has brought this to the surface—then I see that we are dealing with paid political activists. Activists paid by identifiable foreign spheres of interest. And these paid political activists are, moreover, political activists paid by foreigners.” July 26, 2014, speaking at the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad), Romania (source in Hungarian). 

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The West

“The validity of eternally valid truths has crumbled. States previously thought to be strong have become weak, while those thought weak have become strong. And it is clearly visible that our old life that developed over the decades in the Western world has simply become unsustainable. The way I see it, the change in epoch will take place with the collapse of the previous historical period, thus we are not entering a new period of development, we are not passing from someplace to somewhere, but collapse is taking place and the new beginning will start from there.” July 23, 2011, during annual speech at the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad), Romania (source in Hungarian).

“History has kicked out from under us the crutch that said if the Hungarians can do the same thing as the western Europeans then they will be successful.” August 22, 2012, speaking to an assembly of Hungarian and foreign ambassadors in Budapest (source in Hungarian).

“It is a big question whether the West changed or whether we began to view it differently once we got there.” March 28, 2014, during an interview with journalist on the pro-government television station EchoTV (source in Hungarian).

“Turkey is a very successful state and Russia developed with exceptional success until the Ukrainian crisis, which exercised a bad effect on the Russian economy. I do not agree with the Western reflexes that those who are more successful than us must be reeducated and must not be accepted just because their systems carry less value from a Western standpoint.” February 20, 2015, during interview with the Russian business daily Kommersant (source in Hungarian). 

Hungary and the West

“Hungary’s place is [in the] West. We criticize them because they are far from perfect, but the starting attitude of the Hungarians to Western institutions is always positive.” November 23, 2015, during interview with U.S. news website Politico (source in English).

The West and the East

“I am among those who wanted a Hungarian—not an eastern, not a western—but a Hungarian country that stands on its own legs, travels its own path and turns on its own axis.” May 29, 2010, during Fidesz party assembly outside the Hungarian Parliament Building (source in Hungarian).

‘We are sailing under a Western flag, though an Eastern wind is blowing in the world economy.” November 5, 2010, during the introduction of his government’s Eastern Opening policy (source in Hungarian).

“It is not a question of where Hungary should stand―this is a communist approach―but of what is in the Hungarian interest, this is what we must determine.” November 20, 2014, speaking at a session of the Hungarian Permanent Conference [Magyar Állandó Értekezlet] in Budapest (source in Hungarian).

Eastern Opening Policy 

“With regard to the Eastern Opening, I can tell you that it has taken place. I can say that it is a fact that it has been completed. The gate is open in the eastern direction, it must be passed through and attention should be paid in order to make sure that somebody doesn’t shut it.” March 9, 2015, during annual speech to Hungarian diplomats (source in Hungarian). 

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The United States/Liberal Democracy

“According to a highly recognized analyst, the force of America’s soft power is in decline, because today corruption, sex and violence embody liberal values and thereby degrade America and American modernization.” July 26, 2014, speaking at the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad), Romania (source in Hungarian). 

The United States

“Don’t let the political jostling taking place on the surface bother you. Deep down, strong and mutual cooperation has developed with America.” November 20, 2014, speaking at a session of the Hungarian Permanent Conference [Magyar Állandó Értekezlet] in Budapest (source in Hungarian).

“Hungary’s national sovereignty is under attack.” December 15, 2014, speaking on state-run Kossuth Radio regarding United States Senator John McCain’s reference to him as a “neofascist dictator” (source in Hungarian).

“The United States has allocated several hundreds of millions of dollars in resources in order to devise and implement an action plan against two dozen eastern and central European countries aimed expressly at putting the governments of these two dozen countries under pressure.” December 16, 2014, speaking on opening day of the Fourth Economic Forum of China and Sixteen Central and Eastern European nations in Belgrade, Serbia (source in Hungarian)

“Huge crowds hailed Lajos Kossuth in America when it was still a slave-holding country. . . . And indeed, 800 Hungarians fought in the American Civil war that eliminated slavery, among them generals and some 50 high-ranking officers. Is it any wonder that the people of Kossuth and Petőfi smile if anybody wants to teach us about freedom and democracy?” March 15, 2015, during speech outside National Museum in Budapest on the anniversary of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution (source in Hungarian).  

U.S. Entry Ban on Orbán Administration Officials for Alleged Corruption 

“Every thoughtful person knows that the charges of corruption that the United States has articulated are a cover story. Here it is a question of the United States having found new interests in this region. It wants to attain influence. And it is using corruption as a cover story for this. This becomes obvious when we ask for concrete details, when we initiate legal proceedings, when we say lay the cards on the table, let’s clear the air. But somehow this never seems to happen. This is an outgrowth of a typical secret-service influence-acquisition action.” December 23, 2014, during interview on state-run Hungarian Television (source in Hungarian from 6:23)

The U.S. Democratic Party and George Soros

“In Central Europe there exists a background power that can be connected to György Soros and he is a supporter of the American Democratic Party as well, thus although the mouth is Clinton’s, the thought is György Soros’s.” May 20, 2016, referring to former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s comment that Hungary had rejected democracy in favor of authoritarian dictatorship (source in Hungarian). 

The Election of Donald Trump as U.S. President

“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).

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Asian Origins/the West and the East

“They have regularly mocked Hungary in Europe over the past one-hundred years because it is Asian. . . . We really smile at what it is taking place in the world economy, that our frequently mocked Asian origins have suddenly become so much in demand throughout the world because it is obvious that the center of gravity of the world economy is moving from the West toward the East.” February 12, 2013, speaking at a Hungarian-Chinese business forum in Beijing during an official visit to the People’s Republic of China (source in Hungarian).

Asian Origins 

“If there is strength, then there is cooperation. This is the way it is with those of semi-Asian extraction like us.” May 26, 2012, speaking to the National Association of Entrepreneurs (source in Hungarian).

“We arrive with great joy to Kazakhstan. In the EU we are treated as equal partners in political terms. However, based on our origin, we are nevertheless foreigners there if we travel to Brussels. There we have no relatives. However, if we come here, in Kazakhstan we have relatives. It is a really strange feeling, but one has to travel east if one wants to feel at home. This is why Hungarian delegations always travel here to you with great joy.” April 1, 2015, speaking during official visit to Kazakhstan (source in Hungarian). 

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Croatia

“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 regarding the migration crisis (source in Hungarian).

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Russia

“Russia’s behavior that is clearly in defiance of international law is a much greater challenge for the European Union than we are willing to admit.” May 15, 2014, speaking at the Global Security Forum in Bratislava, Slovakia (source in English).

“Can the European continent be competitive economically with China or with the USA if it does not create a sensible economic cooperation with the Russians?” May 15, 2014, speaking at the Global Security Forum in Bratislava, Slovakia (source in English).

“I never claimed that Russia was an example to be followed.” October 6, 2014, during a speech at the Hanns Seidel Foundation in Munich (source in Hungarian).

“We are convinced that Russia’s exclusion from Europe is not a sensible thing. The security of the region can not be established against Russia; the security of the region can only be established in cooperation with Russia. This is why we are convinced that we must negotiate, negotiate and negotiate.” February 17, 2015, during joint press conference in Budapest with President Vladimir Putin of Russia (source in Hungarian). 

“I don’t want to live in a Europe that conducts a new Cold War against Russia and which makes the Europeans enemies of the Russians.” February 20, 2015, during interview with the Russian business daily Kommersant (source in Hungarian). 

Vladimir Putin 

“Putin is someone you can cooperate with. He’s not an easy man. He has no personal feelings [for] you. . . . He is not a man who has a known personality, so don’t imagine him as you like to imagine Western leaders.” November 23, 2015, during interview with U.S. news website Politico (source in English).

“With Merkel we have a principle-based policy. So if you agree on certain principles, it’s easy to manage the reality. Just the opposite with Putin: we can manage some reality, but never agree on principle.” November 23, 2015, during interview with U.S. news website Politico (source in English).

Russia-Ukraine Conflict

“It is in the Hungarian interest, not the American or European, that there be something between Hungary and Russia, and this is Ukraine. A sovereign, democratic Ukraine, where a 200,000-strong Hungarian community lives.” November 20, 2014, speaking at a session of the Hungarian Permanent Conference [Magyar Állandó Értekezlet] in Budapest (source in Hungarian).

“This conflict cannot be solved in spite of the Russians, but must be solved together with the Russians. This is the Hungarian viewpoint. And this diverges from that which the United States advocates and would like.” December 23, 2014, during interview on state-run Hungarian Television (source in Hungarian from 14:42).

“We are on the side of peace in Ukraine—we have great hopes in connection with the ceasefire. We have 200,000 reasons to be on the side of peace.” February 17, 2015, during joint press conference in Budapest with President Vladimir Putin of Russia (source in Hungarian). 

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]?” December 24, 2015, during interview in the pro-government daily newspaper Magyar Idők (source in Hungarian).

Russia and China 

“Chinese are necessary for the Chinese model and Russians for the Russian [model]. In Hungary and in Europe these solutions are unusable.” November 24, 2014, in interview with German business daily Handelsblatt (source in Hungarian).

European Union Economic Sanctions against Russia

“The European Union has decided to utilize a three-band sanction system. We are now in the second one, which entails the freezing of political relations and the declaration of certain individuals to be non grata. Economic sanctions are in the third band, which would be fortunate to avoid, because it is not in the interest of Europe and particularly not of Hungary.” March 28, 2014, during an interview with the on-line version of the economic daily Világgazdaság (source in Hungarian). 

“We shot ourselves in the foot.” August 15, 2014, speaking with with regard to European Union sanctions on Russia during one of his regular Friday-morning radio interviews on state-run Kossuth Radio (source in Hungarian).

“It is my opinion that sanctions policy has not been successful and it is self-deception to claim it has been and that it is enough to continue this and it will eventually resolve the crisis.” August 30, 2014, speaking to reporters at an extraordinary summit of European Union heads of state and government in Brussels (source in Hungarian)

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Eurasian Economic Union

“Hungary considers this to be a positive global-economic development. We do not want to be excluded from this opportunity.” June 3, 2014, speaking with regard to the Eurasian Economic Union composed of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan following a meeting with Prime Minister Karim Massimov of the latter country in Budapest (source in Hungarian).  

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Azerbaijan/Heydar Aliyev

“I must recall the president’s father as well, who is the state’s founder and the state’s consolidator.” November 11, 2014, referring to the autocratic former president of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, after signing a strategic-partnership agreement with Aliyev’s son and successor, President Ilham Aliyev (source in Hungarian from 0:50).

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Hungarian Minorities/Post-Revolution Ukraine

“Hungarians living in the Carpathian Basin deserve dual nationality, they deserve collective rights and they deserve autonomy. This is the viewpoint we shall support on the international political stage. All of this is of particular current interest as a result of the situation surrounding the 200,000-strong Hungarian community in Ukraine, which must receive dual nationality, must receive collective rights in their entirety and must receive the possibility of self-administration.” May 10, 2014, speaking after taking the oath of office as prime minister for the new parliamentary cycle (source in English). 

Post-Revolution Ukraine

“We are not only having a Russia problem. We are also having a Ukraine problem.” May 15, 2014, speaking at the Global Security Forum in Bratislava, Slovakia (source in English).

“It is of great concern, when they created the new Ukraine, the very first decision was actually to abolish the language act that was beneficial to the minorities.” May 15, 2014, speaking at the Global Security Forum in Bratislava, Slovakia (source in English).

Last updated: May 20, 2016. 

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