The prerequisite to conservative politics is economic success
06. 02. 2020.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán called economic success the prerequisite to conservative politics on Tuesday in Rome at a podium discussion at the National Conservatism conference organised by the Edmund Burke Foundation.

The Prime Minister said economic success is the only way for national conservative and Christian democratic leaders to “survive”. Because if they do not succeed in this, if a conservative political leader makes an error and the economic indices fall, then next morning the will “kill him”, he said.

With relation to this, Mr. Orbán highlighted the fact that in Hungary the economy is growing by 4-5 percent every year, the rate of unemployment has fallen to 3 percent, and sovereign debt is also falling.

He also emphasised that Hungary is a stable country and the only European state in which there have not been early elections since 1990.

He also mentioned that Hungarian conservative leadership differs from its other European counterparts with respect to the fact that, on the one hand, there is no pressure to form a coalition with other parties, since (the governing party) has a majority in Parliament. And on the other hand, the world of the media is not like it is in Western Europe where, he said, 90 percent of the media belongs to progressive liberals and only 10 percent to conservatives. “There is greater balance in Hungary”, he declared, explaining that thanks to all this he is one of the lucky European conservative politicians who can state what he thinks.

In response to accusations of populism, Mr. Orbán responded that when he was young populism meant that a politician promises something that he is unable to realise. “But if a politician promises something and does indeed realise it, that isn’t populism, it’s democracy”, he stated, citing as an example the fact that in 2010 his government undertook to create one million new jobs over a period of ten years, and now, after 9 years, they are at 860 thousand new workplaces.

Criticising liberalism, he explained that liberal governments have failed twice within a decade. “First, in 2008, when they were unable to handle the economic crisis, and then in 2015 during the migration crisis, when they failed to protect their citizens and their national borders”, he explained. “In this sense, liberal democracy is at an end, in view of the fact that the conceptual foundation of liberal governments was this, liberal democracy”, he said, emphasising that we need something new, Christian democracy instead of liberalism.

With relation to the migration crisis, he indicated that there is not a single Muslim migrant in Hungary, and accordingly it differs from the countries of Western Europe where the proportion of the Muslim community is increasing, while the Christian community is decreasing. “According to the liberals, this is fine, because they don’t like Christian society”, he added, noting that this is their business, but asking that they do not try to force such a process onto Central Europe.

He also indicated, however, that the migration crisis has created an opportunity for discussion concerning identity, about the question of “who we are”.

The Prime Minister also declared that Europe needs new challenges and new movements that are full of energy, otherwise the continent will not be competitive.

With relation to the European Union, Mr. Orbán explained that there are two differing approaches concerning the construction of Europe: one would like to build the continent from the bottom up, which means a kind of cooperation between nations; according to the other concept, however, Europe must be built from above, which is a federalist, “empire-orientated” approach in which sovereign states play no part. “There is continuous competition between these two approaches, and this is the reason for the open disputes between European leaders”, he added.

On the subject of Fidesz’s European party family, the European People’s Party (EPP), the Prime Minister said: “The EPP would like to take part in the EU’s power structure in any way possible. And if the price of this is that it must give up certain values and come to a compromise with the Left, then it will do so, while losing its identity step by step”. “If the party family does not open a new chapter, then it will continue to only move in a left-wing, liberal direction, because amongst others the pressure from the media and universities is forcing it to give up increasing numbers of elements from its original ideology”, he continued, adding that he will nevertheless attempt to conduct a “counter-revolution”.

With relation to Central Europe, he declared that it is the most successful region in Europe today, and when he talks about Hungary’s success, then he must also mention the success of the surrounding countries, and accordingly he highlighted, for instance, the Slovakians, the Czechs, the Poles, the Croatians and the Serbs, also stating that throughout the region, irrespective of party family, the governments are all national conservative with relation to the fundamental principle behind their politics.