“I stand by every word” of Klebelsberg memorial speech
24. 06. 2017.
At a press conference in Brussels on Friday, after the two-day summit of EU Member States’ leaders, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was asked about a speech he had delivered earlier in the week at the ceremonial inauguration of a renovated building dedicated to the memory of Hungary’s interwar minister of culture Kuno Klebelsberg. Mr. Orbán said “I stand by every word” of the speech.

The Prime Minister said that he believes it is ridiculous to think that the former culture minister was “a fine lad, his prime minister was a fine lad”, but then claim that the very person who appointed them – the Regent – had no merit whatsoever.

“This quite simply defies common sense”, he said.

He added that he refuses to take part in debates about history. In his view, however, the rules of common sense are enough to show us that for there to be a prime minister in Hungary he had to be appointed by the Regent, and for there to be a good cultural minister he had to be appointed by the Prime Minister. The merits of a particular era cannot be judged on the basis of which personalities one likes or dislikes, he said.

In a speech he gave at the inauguration ceremony for the renovated Klebelsberg Villa in Budapest on Wednesday the Prime Minister described the second and third decades of the twentieth century as an arduous ordeal in the history of the Hungarian people. He said that thanks to a few exceptional statesmen – Regent Miklós Horthy, Prime Minister István Bethlen and Minister Kuno Klebelsberg – “history did not bury us under the immense weight of a lost world war, the 133 days of the Red Terror and the diktat of Trianon”.

At the press conference the Prime Minister was also asked about alleged orders placed by the state with his father’s businesses. He replied that every EU decision is implemented in Hungary in full compliance with the laws in force at the time. The laws clearly stipulate who may do what, he stressed, and the laws must be observed.

The Prime Minister expressed the hope that everyone complies with the laws and the economic and moral rules arising from them “to the letter”. In response to a journalist’s question, Mr. Orbán underlined that his father’s businesses “do not fulfil orders from the state”.

In the relation to the law on political billboards passed by the Hungarian parliament on Friday, he said that there is a clear procedure for introducing new laws: after drafting, they must be voted on; they must be signed by the Speaker of the House; they must be countersigned by the President of the Republic; and then they must be officially published. Finally, if a particular law is found to be in conflict with the provisions of the Constitution, there are various means available for legal remedy. One of these is the Constitutional Court, which has the right, if it upholds a complaint, to return a law to Parliament or annul it, and call upon the legislature to change it. He pointed out that in Hungary there is a precisely specified procedure for legislation. “It would be wise to keep this context in mind when interpreting the political debates on this”, the Prime Minister said.

Mr. Orbán stressed that Fidesz is a party which observes the laws on political parties, and the State Audit Office has scrutinised its finances every year. “As far as I know, not once has there been any objection since 2010 – and not even in the years before. We are proud of the fact that our finances have always been transparent and in complete compliance with the law”, he said.