International press conference of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
11 September 2018, Straßburg (Strasbourg)

I’d just like to say a few words, because the debate was public and you were able to listen to it live. After all is said and done, the first quality of the debate was its absurdity. The whole situation is absurd. A few months ago – perhaps five months ago, in April – there was an election in Hungary. The Hungarian people decided what should happen, and during the election campaign we discussed all of the issues – including the CEU, the NGOs, and all of the important political issues. And the people decided on these issues. And now the European Parliament is taking upon itself the task of overruling the decision made by the people of Hungary, and forcing the Hungarian government to implement what they are attempting to impose on us in place of the people’s decision. The second quality of this debate was that, well, patience is always the most difficult of things. One MEP – perhaps from Britain – said that communist commissars were in the habit of speaking to people in the same way that some people here spoke to us – or to me, personally. And that is something I can confirm. Indeed, in communist times we were spoken to like that – in the style that some people indulged in today. Sermonising, threats and exclusion from the world of civilised people is the communist style – even if we are not in the Soviet Union, but the European Parliament.

You also know the situation – you can see that we are loyal members of the European People’s Party. We are in trouble, the European People’s Party is in trouble: in recent years we have lost our character and abandoned the teachings of our founding fathers. We have become a European party political family with no character, that has no independent will, that is constantly cautious and measuring its own steps – while to all intents and purposes we are dancing to the tune of the socialists and liberals. The European People’s Party has only one goal: to avoid – heaven forbid – being castigated in the European press or in European forums. This is a problem. For its part, Fidesz is a loyal member of the European People’s Party, and we will remain so. We will be working to reform the European People’s Party to enable it to find its way back to the path marked out by the founders and Helmut Kohl, and to the values, directions, courage and character which will ensure that the Christian approach – the Christian conservative approach – also has a party in European politics, and that people who think this way are also represented in Europe. Because that is not the case today.

I have also made it clear – because I hear speculation after my meeting with Salvini – that the defence of borders is not a party political issue. To me and to Hungary it is irrelevant whether a government that wants to protect its borders is to the right of us or to the left of us. The only thing that matters is that it wants to protect Europe’s borders – because those are our common borders. I would like to make it clear that I will always cooperate with all governments – regardless of their party composition – in order for us to be able to jointly protect the borders of Europe. This is all that it is worth knowing about the cooperation between the Hungarian government and the Italian government.

Thank you for honouring the debate with your attention, and also for your kind attention to my words now. If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them.