Hungary before all else, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stressed in his state-of-the-nation address delivered on Sunday at the Castle Garden Bazaar in Budapest. He highlighted, among others, that the government had adopted a climate protection action plan, and 2020 and 2021 would be about the continuation of country building.
The Prime Minister started his speech by saying that today, one hundred years after the death sentence of Trianon, he is able to tell members of his audience that “we are alive, and Hungary still exists”.
He added that not only are we still alive, but we have also released ourselves from the clutches of the enemy.
With Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia restored again to national foundations we can find a common voice, and can forge wide cooperation, even alliances, the Prime Minister stated.
History has given the peoples of Central Europe a chance again to build a new system of alliance based on their own national interests, and so we can defend ourselves against threats from both the East and the West, Mr Orbán said.
He also highlighted that the success story of every rising nation begins with the strengthening of self-esteem, while the personal self-esteem of the citizens of countries in trouble can only return together with that of their nations. Therefore, restoring national self-esteem is the key to a nation’s rise, he said.
He recalled the goal of 2010; “let us prove to ourselves and to the world that we are still somebody”. “We believed that either we would find a path, or we would make one. And as the paths designated by Brussels and Washington were not the right options for us, we were compelled to create a new one,” he said, adding that after ten years, he can say “with due modesty” that “we figured it out, and did it too”.
They sent the IMF packing, repaid the country’s debts before their maturity, created 850,000 new jobs, put an end to “freeloading”, put finances in order and gave workers respect and appreciation, families received the recognition they deserved, while large families received even greater recognition, they started the unification of the nation, and linked Hungarian communities forced beyond the borders to the motherland, he listed.
The Prime Minister also highlighted that in the economic reports released by Brussels this week the whole of Europe can read that it seems that in 2019 the Hungarian economy grew fastest on the entire continent
He pointed out that “Hungary was bankrupted by a government consisting of former communists with its liberal policy”. “This example confirms the assumption that there is no such thing as a liberal. A liberal is a communist with a degree,” he said, adding that “had we heeded their advice, Hungary would be lying in a hospital ward, the drains of IMF and Brussels loans would be hanging from our arms, and George Soros would be controlling the tap of loans”.
He said there is nothing exaggerated about this, “having been in this line of business, the business of politics for more than thirty years, I have seen with my own eyes how George Soros tried to plunder Hungary three times”.
Mr Orbán also highlighted that we are again preparing for a national consultation, “we are again driven by compulsion” and we must create points of understanding so that the government has something to stand on, has somewhere to gain a foothold.
The Prime Minister stressed that a situation had emerged in Europe in which “the rights of violent criminals have become more important [for decision-makers] than the rights of law-abiding people”; “they make fun of justice, of the healthy life instincts of honest people, and would defend the perpetrators instead of the victims”.
He said this dangerous phenomenon has also reached Hungary, and we can expect serious disputes and international trials.
The Prime Minister pointed out that “organisations [funded from abroad] forming part of the Soros network and their hired lawyers start masses of lawsuits, abusing the protection afforded by the law, in order to make the state pay violent criminals, and of course themselves large sums from the money of the Hungarian people. The multitude of lawsuits – 12,000 lawsuits – cost billions. We cannot just stand by as onlookers,” he stressed.
Regarding the situation in Gyöngyöspata, he said the case in question began just when Roma families started changing over to a new lifestyle, and the court decision which turned the people of Gyöngyöspata against one another shattered this hopeful process “like a bolt of lightning”. The organisation which instituted the court procedure is also financed by George Soros, he added.
He highlighted that we continue to believe in a Hungary which offers every Hungarian a safe home, and provides everyone with the chance of a good life. We cannot tolerate that origin should be an ethnic stigma or disadvantage; however, it likewise cannot provide any advantage or privilege, and everyone regardless of origin must work for their money.
Evaluating the past ten years, Mr Orbán pointed out facts show that the last 10 years have been the most successful 10 years in the past 100 years of Hungarian history.
He said Hungarians are not used to looking upon themselves as a successful nation. Hobó is right: “we’ve been down for so long we don’t know what it’s like to be up” – he said quoting the singer.
Speaking about the results of the past ten years, Mr Orbán stressed that sustainable growth, against the background of a maintained external and internal balance, had not been typical of any other decade in the past 100 years. And we have achieved all this in such a way that, by European standards, wealth inequalities have remained moderate, meaning that the advantages of growth have also reached wider strata of society, he observed.
They have managed to provide jobs for vulnerable groups, young people, people over the age of 50, women raising children and people with low qualifications. Wages have also started rising: the values of the minimum wage and the guaranteed wage minimum have doubled, in 2019 decisions were made about the largest number of investments of all time, and last year previous export records were also broken. Regarding the latter, he observed that while in terms of the size of its population Hungary is ranked 94th among countries of the world, it is ranked 34th in terms of its exports.
This was achieved by a country of ten million. Is there any more evident proof of talent and diligence?, he asked.
The Prime Minister also said that those who keep “beating up” Hungarian teachers, education and vocational training would do well to exercise more moderation. The workers, experts and engineers who operate the world’s most modern factories here in Hungary “all came out of our schools and universities,” he stressed.
In the past 10 years “we have also learnt that Europe is not in Brussels. We are Europe, and we don’t need to adhere to the expectations of the tired Brussels elite. […] Earlier we believed that Europe was our future; today we already know that we are the future of Europe,” he said.
By his account, today the Carpathian Basin is oozing strength. This strength stems from the recognition that being Hungarian is a good, uplifting and promising thing. “Our nation knows: Hungary first”, he said.
In his address, Mr Orbán announced that this week the government had adopted a climate protection action plan, and they had also created a programme which would help to achieve that by 2030 ninety per cent of the electricity generated in Hungary should be carbon-free.
The Prime Minister highlighted that major steps will have to be taken in order to protect what they have achieved; “the climate crisis and demographic decline are emerging as threats, while ominous clouds are gathering over the European economy as well”.
He took the view that “climate protection has become something of a fashion in politics” and the great deal of empty talk compromises the seriousness of the issue. It is time for action instead of talk, he said.
He observed that the climate protection programme also shows that they believe that they will still be accountable in 2030.
He pointed out that from 1 July they will begin the elimination of illegal waste disposal sites and will impose penalties on polluters. They will ban the distribution of single-use plastics and will introduce deposit return schemes on bottles, plastic bottles and cans, he listed. He added that they will protect rivers from waste coming from abroad.
Mr Orbán highlighted that the government will take stringent action against multinational companies operating in Hungary which will be required to use environmentally friendly technologies. Additionally, in the next two years they will support the renewable energy production of small and medium-sized businesses with HUF 32 billion.
He said they will plant ten trees for every new-born child, and by 2030 the territory of the country covered with forests will increase to 27 per cent. In the next 10 years, they will increase the capacity of solar power plants six-fold. They will support the wider appearance and use of cheap electric cars, and from 2022 they will only permit the commissioning of electric buses in urban public transport, he said.
He stressed that they will introduce Green Government Bonds, and the government will agree to use their proceeds only for climate-friendly programmes.
Informing his audience about the status of the family protection action plan, Mr Orbán said more than a hundred thousand people have received baby expecting loans to date; this was the 10th most popular term Internet users looked for.
The income tax exemption of mothers with four children – making life easier for 40,000 families – has started, the Prime Minister highlighted.
While it did not feature in the family protection action plan, he continued, “we have also managed to take a step, or even two steps forward in the fight against infertility”. The most important goal was to make tests and interventions, and even medicines accessible, meaning free for everyone. Today state service providers are able to take care of everyone who contacts them, he said.
He said it is also good news that between 2010 and 2018 90,000 more children were born than would have been born, had the trends of 2010 continued.
“I know that, after mothers with four children, personal income tax exemption should also be granted to mothers with three children sooner or later. I also know that today, in the first six months after birth, mothers receive 70 per cent of their average earnings in the year before, and this should be raised to 100 per cent, in which case in the first six months after giving birth they would make more money than without having given birth at all,” he said.
Mr Orbán also mentioned the free language and driving tests offered to young people, adding that these should be extended to mothers on maternity leave as well.
The Prime Minister underlined that in 2020 and also thereafter we will have to concentrate all our strength on preserving jobs. We will have to preserve and modernise jobs all at once because if we have jobs we have everything.
Mr Orbán said the European economy, and in particular, the Eurozone has simply come to a halt; 85 per cent of Hungarian goods are bound for these countries. Therefore, their problem is also our problem, he added.
He said in 2019 German industrial production decreased significantly, while Hungarian production increased by 5 per cent. In 2020 and perhaps for years thereafter, we will have to concentrate on preserving jobs. We are aware that at a time like this taxes must be reduced. This is what we are preparing for; we will reduce the tax of small businesses as well as taxes on live work. At the same time, we will preserve the value of pensions as this is what we agreed on with pensioners, he said.
He highlighted that in the world competition never stops; however, Europe seems to want to quit competition and to restrict it within the European Union, also as regards employment and services. At times, one has the impression that “people in the West learnt nothing from our history, and are not aware that socialism destroys nations,” he said.
According to the Prime Minister, if Hungary, the Hungarian fiscal system, social system and labour market “are regulated into the economic order of a United States of Europe” our development, too, will come to a halt. This is why we must be careful with the introduction of the euro as well: “We shouldn’t get on a train whose destination is unknown,” he said.
The Prime Minister also said that 2020 and 2021 will be about the continuation of country building.
He highlighted in continuation that “we can see that the opposition is already preparing. Uncle Tom, Cobley and all as well as the world and his wife are welcome on their team just so that they can climb back into power. They’re already trying on their team outfits. The result is kind of lopsided; we can observe quite avant-garde combinations here. Arrow-cross jodhpurs, red vest on top, with a rainbow badge to boot.”
“Our task is to prepare the nation for the trials facing us in coming years,” Mr Orbán said, adding that “all we can want – but that we do – is for Hungarians to live and to thrive in the welfare and security in their own country that they deserve in return for the work and sacrifices of their ancestors and themselves”.
Standing here after such 100 years is proof of the fact that the Almighty has plans with this country. With due respect, we can only say that we are ready for the call, we are ready for the journey of the next one hundred years. “Hungary before all else, God above us all,” he said in conclusion.
Before the Prime Minister’s address, Zoltán Balog, President of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for a Civic Hungary highlighted that ever since they first started gathering together for the state-of-the-nation address, they have never once come together without hope. Instead, they have always taken on the responsibility that belonging to a civic, national and Christian democratic community entails.
He pointed out that ‘national, Christian and civic’ – these three things together are a promising constellation, a higher order of ambition. Mr Balog said being Christian without patriotism is vain, global cosmopolitanism. Being patriotic without Christianity is paganism, and if civic virtues are left out of everything the quality of life suffers. If we have these three things in combination, we are proud Christian Hungarians with an independent mind, he added.
He said it is good to belong together, it is good to belong here, it is good that in Hungary we do not need special permission, a certificate protecting endangered species to be Hungarian, white, heterosexual, Christian men and women, he underlined. We Hungarians – if we are Christians – respect every person’s dignity, he added, highlighting that incitement to hatred against Christians is rife in many parts of the world, and this is something we must not tolerate.
Also this year guests filled the entire auditorium of the Castle Garden Bazaar; many listened to the Prime Minister’s twenty-second state-of-the-nation address standing. Hungarian flags were hoisted behind the stage, and images of the national flag and the Holy Crown were projected onto the walls around the room. The lectern featured the words ‘For us Hungary comes first’.
(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)