The world would be a poorer place if we did not exist
22. 01. 2016.
At the inauguration of the Hungarian cultural institute in Ljubljana on Friday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that the Hungarians have a nightmare that “The Lord of History” pays them a visit and asks who they are and why they are who they are. There is only one answer to that question, he said: “The world would be a poorer place if we did not exist”.

The Prime Minister added that this is an “inspiring nightmare”, because it provides the answer to why so much money is spent on seemingly unnecessary things, such as a cultural institute. If this question is posed to Slovenia – a country of 2 to 3 million – and Hungary – a country of ten million – there is only one answer, he said: “The world would be a poorer place if we did not exist. We could validate this claim with our language, we could point to the Hungarian parliament building, or we could even justify our answer with the goal scored by Puskás against the English”.

“There are things which only we Hungarians are able to create”, and there are things which “only we Hungarians see the way we do”, the Prime Minister said. Therefore the organisation of language and culture cannot be left purely to the volatility of the market. It is a duty stemming from their national existence that every generation should be able to answer the question of why there are Hungarians in the world, the Prime Minister said.

Photo: György Varga/MTI
Photo: György Varga/MTI

Mr. Orbán encouraged the Slovenians to open a cultural institute in Hungary, similar to the Balassi Institute in Ljubljana. “The question we must answer is not why we are opening a cultural institute in Ljubljana, but rather why we did not open one before”, he said, adding that the answer is that “we were flat broke before”, teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and happy just to survive the crisis. Now that “we are in better shape, there is energy, money and attention” to create institutes of a similar kind, Mr. Orbán said in his address at the inauguration ceremony on the Day of Hungarian Culture.

Slovenian prime minister Miro Cerar said that Hungary and Slovenia are two countries which have survived hard times by virtue of their culture, and who maintain excellent friendly and neighbourly relations. He said that as Prime Minister he would like to ensure that “there is also more room for culture in politics”.

The Slovenian prime minister said that so far Lendva has been the cultural centre of Hungarians in Slovenia, but now Ljubljana is joining it. At the same time, the Slovenian capital has always been home to a diverse Hungarian cultural scene, primarily thanks to the local József Attila Cultural Association. Additionally, Hungarian is taught as a foreign language in one of Ljubljana’s primary schools, and last year the two countries’ academies of science and arts held a joint exhibition in the Slovenian capital, Mr. Cerar said.