Interview with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in the Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet
25 May 2019

Prime Minister, Fidesz will win the election on Sunday and the opposition parties will be defeated individually – and probably also collectively. What more could be at stake for voters?

Potential must be realised, and that is always the task for voters: they are the ones who will decide whether this is indeed the outcome. And, of course, there are also other things at stake in the election on Sunday. It’s a good opportunity, for instance, to draw conclusions about the work being done by the Government – and also by the opposition. Although we’re electing members of the European Parliament, the results could also weaken or strengthen governments and heads of government in the European Council. So Hungary’s strength in the debate on the future of Europe depends on how Hungarian voters decide on Sunday. The most important question for the future of Europe is that of immigration: whether we will preserve the cultural identity of our continent and its civilisation built on Christian foundations. There’s a great debate on this, because there are many who don’t see it as important, and therefore the influence of the Hungarian position on the issue of immigration will be determined by the results on Sunday. Voters will be able to stop immigration if they send anti-immigration representatives to Brussels. The question of what kind of Europe our children and grandchildren grow up in is not a trivial one. Those who believe in the importance of the future of Hungary and Europe must vote on Sunday. Pro-immigration supporters will all be there, so we should be there, too.

You see immigration as the most important question in European and Hungarian politics. Isn’t this assessment of the situation too dramatic? Hungary’s southern borders are protected by the fence, and on many occasions the Hungarian government has declared that it will not take in migrants. Can’t we say that this issue has already been resolved? 

All we can say is that, for the time being, we are standing our ground. For the time being. Brussels has the very strong ambition to transform the whole of Europe, and this is a continuous threat to us. In Europe there are politicians, parties, governments, business interest groups, intellectual networks and think tanks which state that Europe should move beyond Christian culture and the age of nations, and create a United States of Europe: an empire with a mixed population, in which neither identity based on Christianity, nor membership of a nation will mean anything, because such things would be diffused and disappear. This ambition is extremely powerful, and it also has representatives in Hungary. These are people who, following the Brussels model, don’t want to stop immigration, but instead want to organise it. The European Left wants a Europe with a mixed population, because in reality it wants to eliminate nations. This is despite the fact that Europe derives its strength from successful nation states. I’m convinced that in Hungary in the coming decade it will be impossible to be involved in politics without recognising migration as the most important issue. But to make this perfectly clear, let me say that if in recent years there had been a left-wing government in Hungary, our cities would look like some in Germany or France, because there would be hundreds of thousands of migrants from Africa or the Middle East in our country.

Every left-wing party denies this, continually declaring that they wouldn’t dismantle the fence or accept mandatory migrant resettlement quotas. 

And in Brussels the very same left-wing parties continually supported – and continue to support – decisions which aim to create mixed populations. Every single time they voted with the pro-immigration forces. The only candidates from Hungarian parties which the Hungarian people can place their trust in are from Fidesz. Regardless of what they happen to say at any given time, the entire Hungarian opposition lined up behind the standard bearers of the pro-immigration forces. They represent Brussels in Hungary, not the Hungarian people in Brussels. At the same time, shelves in Brussels are full of plans seeking to accelerate migration: migrant bank cards; migrant visas; billions of euros in support of Soros’s pro-immigration organisations. These must be stopped, and the money must be used for the defence of the borders and the support of families.

Over the past few decades you’ve been able to unite the Hungarian Right. Do you think this is your mission at a European level? 

No. We must realistically assess our strength and limitations, and set our goals accordingly. The only reason we’re involved in European political relations is that Hungary is important for us. The definition expressed by József Antall [former Prime Minister of Hungary, 1990-1993] still holds true: we are Hungarians, so we are Europeans. We view the world only through the prism of Hungarian interests, and our foreign policy will only represent those interests. Of course it would be a great help if we saw a strengthening of the parties and politicians – primarily in Central Europe – whose views on immigration and the future of Europe are similar to ours. Something else which will be at stake in the election on Sunday is the amount of strength which representatives from the Central European region will be able to demonstrate in Brussels, and whether this region will be able to expand the German-French cooperation into one which comprises three players.

Whatever the nature of individual parties and politicians in the European People’s Party, the People’s Party is a power centre. It’s better to be inside the People’s Party than outside it. You once said that in Brussels those who don’t sit at the table can soon find themselves on the menu – and the People’s Party is always at the table. Considering all these factors, will Fidesz remain in the People’s Party? 

At the moment I can’t answer that question. We will stay in the People’s Party if staying in it is in Hungary’s interest.

Do you think that Fidesz can choose whether it stays or leaves?

Yes, we can choose. It depends on the direction in which the People’s Party moves. This is something we don’t yet know. The issue of immigration has cut the EPP in two: there are some centre-right parties which support immigration and others which oppose it, and this is causing tensions in our party family. In this situation the role of prime ministers will increase relative to that of parties. The strongest sign of this is the strengthening of the Visegrád Four: within this cooperation there are four prime ministers who are members of four different party families.

Let’s return to Hungary. The Hungarian opposition is demonstrating against you in the same formation as before, although since last year they seem to have become much angrier. 

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, democracy means two things. On the one hand, the people are given an opportunity to take part in important shared decisions, and – by expressing their will – to determine what kind of a government should be formed. Our government has been elected on three consecutive occasions, and this is clearly frustrating for those who’ve been continually defeated. On the other hand, democracy also means that, after a decision by the voters, viable governments should come into being which. This was not the case before 2010, because those in whom the people vested their trust – left-wing parties and politicians – were unable to create stable governments; and very few people believe that they would be capable of that in the future. This is the origin of the strange tendency in Hungarian elections whereby the general mood calls for a change of opposition, because the parties offering an alternative on the opposition side have no programmes and no ideals, and to this day are led by people in whose hands the Hungarian Left has disintegrated. Despite this, I recognise the opposition’s aspirations, and in many of them I see the intention to contribute something to the work with which we’re seeking to improve Hungary’s situation. They cannot find the right methods, however, because the starting point they’ve chosen is one which leads them to reject all cooperation with the Government, and to only ever respond negatively to everything. Although this may be feisty, it turns them not only against the Government, but also against the Hungarian people.

The opposition parties are united by a single factor: their hatred for you. Today this is so intense, however, that it’s capable of uniting everyone: the Left, the Greens and Jobbik. This is the basis of the opposition coalition. 

They overestimate me. It’s not me stopping them from winning: it’s the Hungarian people. For nine years Hungary has had a very stable government, resting on national and Christian foundations; and opposition politicians and the intellectual workshops behind them need to finally understand that this is not some sort of an accident, but the country’s cultural identity. These are the foundations: this is the Hungarian world, the goals, desires and aspirations of which are today expressed by the government I lead. This doesn’t depend on the personality of the leader, it doesn’t depend on me, but on what we stand for: prioritising patriotism, respect for Christian European culture, support for families, job protection, the goal of full employment, increasing the minimum wage and security. These are all in line with the values of the Hungarian people. The opposition are forcibly promoting ideas which are alien to the vast majority of Hungarian society: a United States of Europe; immigration; gender issues; changing traditional relations between men and women; family as a fluid form of coexistence; the nation as nothing but a cultural mistake; and the beauty and merit of immigration. The Hungarian people don’t want their numbers to be supplemented with migrants; they want children and grandchildren. They want the Government to recognise the efforts they make for their families and to protect their jobs. The future of Hungary and Europe depends on whether we will be able to preserve our identity and culture based on the foundations of Christian values. What is at stake on Sunday is the future of Europe. I’ve drawn up a seven-point programme to stop immigration; I ask the Hungarian people for their support in this. In Brussels it will be opposed by many. So I ask for the Hungarian people’s firm support, because I will only be able to represent this in Brussels with their help.