Unification of the nation to be followed by building of the nation
10. 11. 2017.
In Budapest’s Castle Garden Bazaar on Friday, at the 16th Plenary Session of the Hungarian Standing Conference, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that the recent period has focused on unification of the nation, while the years ahead will focus on building the nation.

The Prime Minister reiterated words from a speech he delivered recently in Kolozsvár/Cluj, saying that “in the Carpathian Basin the future will be written in Hungarian”. He stressed that this sentence expresses the intentions of the Government, as it sees the Carpathian Basin as the physical space for the fulfilment of the Hungarian nation and culture.

“We not only need to defend our rights and communities: our own Hungarian logic, mentality and interests must also shape our contribution to the thoughts, ideas and plans for the future of the Carpathian Basin”, he said. He added that he is convinced that “we shall be able to significantly influence” the future of the Carpathian Basin by linking together the elements of the Hungarian nation. He said that in the region everyone can see that those who cooperate with the Hungarians are themselves beneficiaries.

He again spoke about new legislation on education in Ukraine, saying that the Hungarian government will not retreat from the position that minority rights cannot be curtailed. Hungary is asking the Ukrainian government to also acknowledge this, he said, because if it fails to adopt fundamental norms, the quality of cooperation between Kiev and the EU will be utterly changed.

Mr. Orbán also said that without a strong motherland, it would be impossible to pursue successful foreign policy in relation to areas beyond the borders in which Hungarians live.

He stated that the motherland has gained in strength, citing as an example the creation of an educational network and “intellectual force fields” across the entire Carpathian Basin. He declared that “we have patched together the scattered fragments of the nation’s fabric”.

In his speech the Prime Minister enthusiastically welcomed what he described as a consensus on important issues relating to Hungarians beyond the borders, such as citizenship, voting rights and aspirations for autonomy.

He noted, however, that a debate – in which the Government is right to state its view – has opened a “hairline crack” in the consensus on voting rights for Hungarians beyond the borders.

In this regard he described the current electoral system as morally sound and just.

He asserted that the current arrangement is sound and just from the viewpoint of Hungarians in Hungary, amply reflecting reality, as “we belong to a single nation, but we are in different situations”. He added that this is the reason for the system whereby Hungarians in Hungary are able to vote in a general election in two separate ways, while Hungarians beyond Hungary’s borders are only able to vote in one way. He stressed that the Government does not want to change this arrangement, and attacks on it will be repelled.

Addressing Hungarians beyond the borders, the Prime Minister called for as many as possible to have their names entered on the electoral register, and to vote. He also asked political leaders representing Hungarians beyond the borders to urge members of their communities to do this.

Mr. Orbán told his audience that there are now more than one million new Hungarian citizens, but added that “we may have reached somewhere around the halfway mark”. He therefore articulated the goal of ensuring that every Hungarian wanting to join the Hungarian community in terms of public law should have the opportunity to do so.

Photo: Károly Árvai

The Prime Minister also asked his audience to fully embrace and support the “Minority SafePack” initiative – launched jointly with the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania – which aims to persuade Brussels to deal with issues related to Europe’s indigenous minorities. He insisted that this is not a party issue, but a national issue.

Assessing the state of the Hungarian economy, he said that everyone can be proud of the results achieved, and that “Hungary has managed to pull itself together”.

Referencing a study by Hungary’s central bank, he said that the past seven years have seen adoption of fifty reform measures which have been instrumental in setting the Hungarian economy on a new course.

Photo: Károly Árvai

Mr. Orbán also drew attention to three key sectors in the modern economy which are indispensable to sovereignty: energy, the media and banking. In these sectors Hungarian ownership has been raised to above 50 per cent – something he sees as a particularly valuable achievement.

The Prime Minister continued by saying that Hungary is in competition with the Czech Republic and Germany to determine whose industrial output is highest as a percentage of gross national product. In this regard Hungary’s target is 30 per cent.

“We asserted […], and then defended the governing principle that in the EU also, national interests come first”, Mr. Orbán said, adding that “for Hungary this means that Hungarian interests come first”. He observed that today Hungary is a medium-sized European state – not only in terms of size and population, but also because over the past seven years it has managed to create a will of its own and room for manoeuvre.

Photo: Károly Árvai

He also said that in the Carpathian Basin there has been growth in the prominence and viability of the notion that the Central European peoples have a vested interest in all being equally strong.

The Hungarian national interest dictates, the Prime Minister continued, that Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia and Ukraine should all be strong, and that Hungary should develop fruitful relations with them as a similarly strong country.

Mr. Orbán noted that Hungary’s neighbouring countries have adopted or accepted a variety of cross-border economic development programmes, determined by the preferences of each.

The Prime Minister described Hungary’s success in halting the flow of migration at its southern borders as a major national achievement. He especially thanked Hungarians in Vojvodina, because they were compelled to build a fence where they least wanted to build one.

He concluded that today Hungary is one of Europe’s safest countries.

The Prime Minister repeated that Hungary is seeking to counteract unfavourable demographic trends through a rise in the birth rate in Hungary, and not through a rise in immigration. He declared that 2018 will also be the year of families in those areas beyond the borders with Hungarian communities.