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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s address at the 4th Budapest Demographic Summit

Esteemed Presidents and Prime Ministers, Esteemed Vice President, Bishops, Chief Rabbi, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Demographic Summit held in Budapest is not just a scientific conference. This conference is also attended by the leaders of a number of countries. Scientists and decision-makers together. This is justified. The difficulty of demographic issues lies not only in the complexity of recognitions. It is at least equally difficult to convert recognitions into deeds. I have been prime minister for 16 years in total, and I can tell you from my own experience that converting demographic recognitions into government measures has always been the most difficult professional challenge for me.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A conference like this means commitment, commitment to values in itself. Not everyone believes that one should think about the shaping of demographic processes at all. There are some who regard the developed world’s demographic processes as predestination. However, we are here because we believe that rather than suffering demographic processes we want to shape them. I’m especially delighted to welcome Vice President Mike Pence from the United States.

Esteemed Vice President,

God, country, family – this is the motto of Hungarian conservative thinking, and I believe that not a single American patriot would shirk from carrying these words on their banner.

Esteemed Vice President,

We have sustained some painful political losses in recent years. The Tories left the European Union, and so we lost an important ally within the European Union; President Trump was unable to continue his work; and today Prime Minister Netanyahu is leading the opposition in Israel. And who knows what will happen on Sunday in Germany? At any rate, the situation is difficult, Mr Vice President, and we look forward to your return within the shortest possible time.

It’s an honour to welcome Prime Ministers Andrej Babiš and Janez Janša. Our peoples and countries live in a community of shared fate. The cruel pact of the great powers after World War II threw us to the communists’ court for 45 years, we then accomplished a change of regime together, and now we’re fighting for the interests of Central Europe and the sovereignty of our countries together.

We’re fighting together so that – in addition to the issues of digitisation, green policies and other fashionable topics – Europe should not forget about its roots, its Christian heritage, and should likewise not forget about the security of the European people. Today, together with the Prime Ministers, we want to talk our European counterparts out of supporting migration, and to convince them that Europe should also support families which rest on the foundations of a relationship between man and woman. Together with the Prime Ministers we’re fighting for a Europe where people and nations decide which way Europe should be heading. Thank you for being here. Andrej, you will have elections shortly, you’re kindly requested to win. Let’s talk straight: we need you, without you and without the Czech people it won’t work.

Please allow me to welcome Mr Aleksandar Vučić, President of Serbia and Mr Milorad Dodik, Prime Minister of the Republika Srpska in Bosnia. It’s an honour that you’re here. I think everyone in this room knows that the future of the Balkans will determine the future of Europe’s security. We must convince people in Brussels to abandon their policy of centuries, as part of which they use the Balkans as a buffer zone in the interest of their own comfort and security. This is a bad idea, it hasn’t worked so far, and it won’t in the future either. The Balkans should be looked upon as a region to be integrated, not as a buffer zone. Europe cannot be complete without Serbia and its region. The President and the Prime Minister can count on our full support in this.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have now arrived at the issue of demography. Is population decline a problem? The West which is ahead of us in many respects, especially as regards material welfare, simply doesn’t want to sustain itself. Let’s not beat about the bush, let’s state it clearly: some civilisations are able to reproduce themselves, Western civilisation isn’t. In fact, they can’t even decide whether this is a problem at all. There are some who believe that it isn’t. They argue that with increased productivity and the advances of technology, fewer people are able to produce more goods, more public goods. Mechanised production, artificial intelligence, automated economy; human workforce no longer matters. This is the technocratic vision so trendy in Silicon Valley. And there are others who do perceive the problem of population decline, but seek to address it with the means of migration. They believe that it is possible to stop population decline by resettling here the alien populations of remote lands. However, mass migration, the millions lured here by Willkommenskultur represent, in actual fact, a global plan for resettling a new working class. These ideas and their politician masters fail to take account of the cultural aspect of demography. Mr Vice President, perhaps in the United States this is less painful. Here in Europe, populated by thousand-year-old nations that rest on cultural foundations, this is the most important dimension of migration. Over here, migration is an identity issue. The lost workforce may well be replaced – with machines or resettled people – but here in Europe a country can only function if its members profess more or less the same values on the most important issues, and stand on the same foundations. If this is not the case, then in Europe a country and a nation inevitably falls apart; this is only a question of time. So my first message to you is that in Europe the proposed solutions that are based solely on an economic approach are unworkable.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Similar to those who spoke before me, I myself observe with concern the ever wider and faster spread of neo-Marxist, neo-leftist movements, the movements that are referred to in America as ‘woke’. We see that they want to miseducate our children already in nursery school. They use children as Pride activists, and popularise gender reassignment among children. This is part of the neo-Marxist woke programme.

Esteemed Vice President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Here in Central Europe the situation is different. We are familiar with the nature of Marxist thinking; we had to live together with it for forty years. We are vaccinated against the woke virus. Our history protects us against the cultural Left as the vaccine protects us against the coronavirus. I’m convinced that there is only one right and workable solution to the puzzle of population decline: the State must help people with the establishment of families, and with the advancement of families. It is the duty of the State to remove all obstacles from the establishment of families.

Esteemed Vice President, Esteemed President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ten years ago, we Hungarians identified five areas, and built Hungary’s family policy on those five pillars. The first one is that the decision to raise children should be an advantage for families also financially, not a disadvantage. The second one is that families must be helped with housing, and more importantly, with housing that they own themselves. Thirdly, our family policy must be based on the mother. Fourthly, we must not only pursue a family policy, but must make the functioning of the entire country family-friendly. And finally the fifth pillar is that the institution of the family and children must be protected also by means of the law.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In modern societies multi-generational families are a thing of the past. In Europe, the state takes care of the operation of health care, social welfare and the pension system. The integration of women into the labour market is now complete, which is an enormous boost for the economy. Women typically start working when they have the best chance of having children. That’s the situation. If we do nothing, there won’t be an economic incentive for the decision to have children. We could argue, they could argue that this is a heartless way to put it, and they may well be right, but this is reality. Whether we like it or not, poor economic prospects deter many from having children. Therefore, a key pledge of Hungary’s family policy is to reverse this trend, and to turn the decision to have and raise children into an economic advantage again. It’s very difficult. It’s easy to hand out money to families, that doesn’t require a lot of brains, but we know that if we hand out too much money, it will first slow down the performance of the economy, and will then destroy it. Therefore, we must provide support and material advantages for families whilst maintaining the long-term growth and robust development of the entire economy. Now, that’s quite something; we ourselves don’t always succeed. We have taken a few brave and surprising steps. We spend 5 per cent of GDP on family support. We connected work and raising children together. We want women to have a choice: if they want to work they can, but going back to work shouldn’t be an existential necessity. I have to admit that this is all well and good, but we’re not yet where we would like to be, and especially not where we should be; Hungary is only half way there. We’re only half way there, but at least we already know the direction. If the new unique Hungarian family policy hadn’t been introduced and everything had remained the same, over ten years in Hungary 120,000 fewer children would have been born. I’m telling this to the Hungarians: this is the equivalent of the entire population of Győr or Nyíregyháza. Instead of a population decline, the number of marriages has almost doubled, and Esteemed Vice President, since 2010 the number of abortions has fallen by 41 per cent in Hungary; we’re not yet where we would like to be, but their number has already fallen by 41 per cent.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I must also openly point out that yes, we’re defending ourselves, Hungary is defending itself because the Western Left keep attacking us. The Western Left attack the traditional family model, first of all, by relativising the concept of the family. The LGBTQ lobby and gender propaganda are all part of this. They specifically target our children, and so we must defend ourselves. And Hungary is defending itself. We have a constitutional family and child protection system which automatically activates itself if it sees that families are in danger, wherever the threat may come from: from gender activists, the media, or even Brussels, the realm of politics.

Esteemed Vice President, Dear Guests,

The Constitution is the most important line of defence for the Hungarian family protection system. I will now quote a few sentences from our Constitution. “The family and the nation constitute the principal framework of our coexistence,” the Hungarian Constitution lays down. It then goes on like this: “Our Fundamental Law shall be the basis of our legal order; it shall be an alliance among Hungarians of the past, present and future.” Elsewhere it stipulates that “Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman

established by voluntary decision, and the family as the basis of the survival of the nation.” Another provision of the Constitution lays down that “The protection of the constitutional identity and Christian culture of Hungary shall be an obligation of every organ of the State.” Elsewhere again it says Hungary protects the right of children to an identity that corresponds to their sex at birth, and guarantees their education based on Christian culture. Parents have the right to choose the upbringing to be given to their children. Parents are obliged to take care of their minor children, and adult children are obliged to take care of their parents if they are in need. And finally, the scandal of all scandals due to which we’re under attack in Brussels also today: the Constitution lays down that the father is a man and the mother is a woman.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the interest of reinforcing our lines of defences, we Hungarians have held national consultations and referenda. Therefore, we have reason to say that our measures are in harmony with the Hungarian people’s will. Let me remind you that in Western Europe and in Brussels no one ever asked the people either about the LGBTQ propaganda or about migration.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Naturally, behind our family policy, behind our measures, behind our constitutional lines of defence there exists a consideration of a spiritual or anthropological nature, and that is the basis of everything. Raising children is a source of joy. It’s not joy like going to the amusement park or the cinema. Raising children is a sacrifice. It often comes with difficulties, from sleepless nights to big sacrifices. But those sacrifices help us. People with families truly understand the words of the gospel: “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed; but if it dies, it produces many seeds.” We often say, Ladies and Gentlemen, ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. This we usually understand as a warning, a call to show solidarity and fairness. But if I understand correctly, this also means that we must also love ourselves. And what could express our love for ourselves more accurately, better and more profoundly than that we see our lives as worthy of continuation? And this in turn is only possible through our children. Serenity, making peace with human fate, lifting ourselves from the mud that drags us down, sursum corda; that’s what family and children have to offer.

And finally, Esteemed Vice President, Dear Guests,

The Holy Father was here two weeks ago. He encouraged us regarding our family policy, he told us not to falter. We won’t give up, and we will fight the battle with Brussels about child protection. Hungarians don’t make empty promises. All I can say myself – instead of making promises – is that here we are, and we have no choice. We know what our duty is.

Thank you for your attention.