A decade of threats, uncertainty and wars is coming, but Hungary can be a local exception at a time of global recession, prime minister Viktor Orban stressed in Tusnadfurdo (Baile Tusnad) in his address delivered on the closing day of the 31st Balvanyos Summer Free University and Student Camp.
Before an audience of several thousand gathered before the open-air stage, the prime minister recalled that the Tusnadfürdő political forum could last be held in 2019, but since then the world “has changed much,” “we have entered an era of threats”; the supporting pillars of Western civilisation previously believed to be unshakeable have started to develop cracks.
In his view, we previously thought that we were living under the protective shelter of science, “and then came covid”; we thought that in Europe we could not have a war again, but there is now a war under way in the neighbourhood of Hungary; and we thought that the Cold War could never return, “despite the fact that several leaders around the world are working hard to arrange our lives into a world of blocs again”.
In Orban’s opinion, it is also typical that while in light of the data the world “appears to be an ever better place,” people’s perception suggests otherwise. Life expectancy has reached 70 years, in Europe it is 80, in 30 years child mortality has fallen to a third of what it was, in the world undernutrition has fallen from 50 per cent in 1950 to 15 per cent, while the percentage of those living in poverty has decreased from 70 per cent in 1950 to 15 per cent. Literacy has increased to 90 per cent, and the number of weekly working hours has fallen from 52 to 40 hours, the prime minister listed the achievements, adding that nonetheless the general feeling is that “the world is becoming an ever worse place to live in” and a kind of “doomsday” atmosphere is spreading.
He took the view that “the winter of our discontent” is fundamentally a Western attitude to life which stems from the fact that the strength, performance, prestige and acting capacity of Western civilisation are declining. The decline of the West prophesied a hundred years ago referred back then to an intellectual and demographic decline. However, today, in his view, we are observing a material and power decline of the Western world which is connected to the modernisation of other civilisations. Rival civilisations – including the Chinese, Indian, Russian Orthodox and Islamic – adopted Western technology and the Western financial system, but “they have absolutely no inclination” to adopt Western values and find it humiliating when the West wants to spread its own values, he explained.
In his opinion, the dislike for the Western “exportation of democracy” is understandable; however, what is most painful about the loss of power and material goods is that “we – as in the West – have lost control over energy carriers”. While in 1950 the United States and Europe controlled 75 per cent of oil, natural gas and coal, today this percentage has fallen to 35 per cent, while the Russians control 20 per cent and the Middle East another 30 per cent. At the same time, similar changes have taken place as regards raw materials which means that the West “has lost the battle for materials,” a large percentage of the world’s energy carriers and resources are situated beyond the territories of Western civilisation, the prime minister established.
He took the view that the strategy of the United States has put Europe into a doubly difficult situation. In 2013, they introduced a new raw material and energy exploitation technology, and laid down in their security policy doctrine that they will use that new technology as a foreign policy weapon. It is for this reason that the Americans are employing a more daring policy of sanctions and “strongly encourage” their European allies to buy shipments coming from the US, he explained. Europeans attempted to resist this and to protect the German-Russian energy axis while they could, but “this is now being racked by international politics” and the changeover to renewable energy sources is likewise not a solution, he added.
“In the West the negative feelings connected to the world stem from the fact that the energy and raw materials that are necessary for the development of the economy are no longer controlled by the West. What the West controls is military power and capital. The question is what you can do with those in the present circumstances,” the prime minister said in summary.
Changing over to the challenges facing the Hungarian people, Orban said demography remains the number one and most important challenge because “the truth is that we still have far more funerals than christenings”. The situation has improved, but there is no turnaround, and in the absence of a turnaround, sooner or later others will take Hungary, the Carpathian Basin away from us, he stated.
The second challenge, in his view, is migration which can also be called a population exchange or flood. He highlighted that migration had divided Europe, “the West has been split into two,” one half is a world where Europeans and peoples from outside Europe live together, and these countries are no longer nations. Orban described this region as the “post-West” where as expected the final demographic change will take place sometime around 2050 when people of non-European origin will be in the majority in big cities.
He said “in a spiritual and emotional sense the West has moved to Central Europe,” the West is here and there is a battle under way between the two halves of Europe. Central Europe made an offer that everyone should be allowed to decide for themselves whom they want to live together with, “but they refused that offer and continue to engage in a fight against Central Europe with the goal of turning us into what they are,” he said. The West is waging a war against Central Europe, and Brussels, complete with Soros’s troops, “wants to force immigrants upon us,” the prime minister stated.
According to Orban, it is understandable that “post-Western” people cannot poison their daily lives with the thought that “everything has been lost,” and there is no need to make them face that notion. “All we ask is that they stop wanting to impose on us the fate that we see not as a fate, but as a death blow for a nation,” the prime minister pointed out.
In his opinion, the internationalist Left’s claim that in Europe mixed-race people live as a matter of course is nothing but eye-wash, the intentional mixing up of different concepts. The mixed-race world of Europeans and peoples coming from outside Europe cannot be compared with the situation when peoples living within Europe mix with each other, he laid down.
“For instance, we in the Carpathian Basin are not mixed-race people, but simply a mixture of peoples living in their own European homes,” he said, adding that the Hungarians do not want to become “mixed-race”. However, the coming generations must be prepared for the fact that they will have to stop the expansion of Islamic civilisation continually moving towards Europe not only at the Southern, but also at the Western border, whilst they will also have to find a solution to taking in Christians fleeing from the West.
The prime minister referred to “gender” as the third challenge threatening Hungary. He recalled that on this issue, too, Hungary had been taken to court, but they had managed to separate the debates on EU funds from this issue. Hungary made a tolerance offer on this matter as well: “we don’t want to tell them how they should live, all we ask of them is that they accept that over here the father is a man, the mother is a woman and our children should be left well alone, and that this should also be accepted within George Soros’s army,” the prime minister said.
He described “demography, migration and gender” as a historical battle between Right and Left as in his view the future will depend on these issues. He took the view that in order to defend ourselves it is important to seek allies; “the post-Westerners” are doing everything they can to disrupt the unity of the V4 for a reason.
He said the war had shaken the Polish-Hungarian cooperation constituting the axis of the cooperation of the Visegrad Four despite the fact that our strategic interests coincided: the Poles, too, want to keep a distance from the Russians, they want Ukraine to preserve its sovereignty and Ukraine to have democracy. However, while the Hungarians want to be left out of the war of two Slavic peoples, the Poles believe that this is their war. Therefore, we must salvage everything we can from the Polish-Hungarian strategic alliance for the post-war times,” the prime minister pointed out.
In the context of the challenge caused by the Russia-Ukraine war, Orban highlighted that other than Ukrainians, the Russia-Ukraine war only claimed the lives of Hungarians: according to records, so far 86 Hungarians have died, and therefore, Hungary as a neighbouring country has the right to say that peace is the only solution.
Orban took the view that every war can be observed from many different angles, but the primary consideration of every war is the fact that “mothers mourn for their children and children lose their parents”. In his opinion, this approach must override everything else even in politics. He stressed that for the Hungarian government this means that their number one duty is to ensure that not a single Hungarian parent or Hungarian child should find themselves in such a situation. He observed at the same time that there are countries which criticise us because in their view we are not committed enough to the Ukrainians. However, they are far away and provide financial or weapons support at most.
Only we Hungarians have shed blood in this war, those who criticise us have not shed a single drop. Therefore, Hungary as a neighbouring country has the right to say that peace is the only solution to saving human lives, and is also the only remedy to wartime inflation and the wartime economic crisis, he stated.
He stressed that therefore they will maintain the Hungarian opinion that “this is not our war”. Hungary is a member of NATO, and believes that Russia will never attack NATO which is much stronger. However, it has found itself in a delicate situation because the EU decided that while they do not intend to become a warring party, they are supplying weapons and are imposing grave economic sanctions; meaning that – even if not de jure – in practice they are becoming a part of this conflict which poses enormous risks, the prime minister explained.
He recalled that the Russians identified a clear security demand: Ukraine must never become a member of NATO, and if today Donald Trump were president of the United States and Angela Merkel chancellor of Germany, in his view, this war would never have broken out. He said the Western strategy was based on the premise that Ukraine could win the war with British and American training personnel and weapons, that the sanctions will destabilise the Moscow leadership, that the West will be able to manage the economic impacts of the sanctions and that the world will line up behind them. However, the opposite happened.
“We’re sitting in a car, all four tyres of which have been punctured,” Orban said, highlighting that regarding the war Europe needs a new strategy which focuses not on winning the war, but on peace talks and the identification of a good peace offer.
In his address, Orban said “war is a power game, those will have the final say whose voice is louder”. Hungary should not delude itself that it will be able to influence events of the war and the strategy of the West with great advice; however, in every debate we must try to voice our position and convince the West to work out a new strategy, he said.
Orban highlighted that at this time, the duty of the European Union is “not to side with the Russians or the Ukrainians, but to stand between Russia and Ukraine”.
What is happening at the moment merely helps to prolong the war as the Russians want to push far enough into territories, ensuring that attacks cannot be launched against Russia from Ukrainian territory, meaning that the better weapons the Ukrainians will have, the longer the war could last, he observed. He stressed that there will not be peace until the Russians and Americans start engaging in talks. “We Europeans lost our chance of controlling events” after 2014 when the Minsk agreements were concluded in the first conflict. From these we left the Americans out, but failed to enforce them, he explained, adding that therefore “the Russians no longer want to have talks with us” but with those who are able to enforce the terms agreed with Ukraine.
The prime minister mentioned the issue of energy and the economy as the fifth challenge posing a threat to Hungary. In order to understand this, in his opinion, we must examine whom the war situation benefits. He pointed out that those who have energy sources of their own benefit. The Russians benefit because revenues are determined not only by the quantity of energy sold, but equally by its price; the Chinese – who earlier found themselves at the mercy of the Arab world – benefit as now they are also able to buy Russian energy; and big American corporations, too, benefit, as they have multiplied their profits, the prime minister listed. However, the EU is losing out, its energy deficit has increased three-fold.
Speaking about the reduction of household energy bills, the prime minister highlighted that this system worked well for ten years, but now the war “has overturned it” because there are wartime energy prices. He stressed that the task is to somehow protect the reduction of household energy bills, and they will manage to do so in such a way that up to the average consumption everyone will pay the earlier prices.
According to the prime minister, Hungary will only be able to preserve its results in an economic sense if it is left out of the war, migration, the “gender madness,” the global tax and the general European recession.
Orban observed that it is good news that we managed that feat both in 2010 and in 2020, Hungary came out of every crisis stronger than it was going in. He added that in 2020 Hungary “overtook on the bend” during the crisis; the only problem is that in the meantime, “driving sleet crossed our path and we must somehow keep our car on the track”.
The prime minister took the view that in the interest of success, adjusting to the new situation, we must conclude new agreements with all important players, including the EU, Russia, China and the United States. In his opinion, if we manage that and we are able to come to an agreement with everyone in accordance with the Hungarian interests, then in 2024 Hungary will be able to find its way back to the old path of growth and development.
According to the prime minister, up to 2030, the problems of the Western world will continue to multiply, the United States could be affected by an economic crisis, the problems of the Eurozone, too, could multiply, and a new political balance of power could develop in the EU because that is when the Central Europeans become net contributors. “He who pays the piper calls the tune,” he observed.
Orban took the view that Hungary could be a local exception at a time of global recession. In his view, multiple factors could help us to achieve that, including the fact that “we still have our border protection” and “a family-based society,” and “we are in the process” of implementing major defence industry developments and “are diversifying our energy sources”.
He said the exploitation of the technological changeover could be an important chance, and the influx of foreign capital from the East and the West is also significant. We are a transit country, and we want to remain a transit economy; therefore, “we must oppose the development of blocs of any kind,” he added. He said it is also important that there is political stability in Hungary “as we have a two thirds majority” and have recently “conducted a generational change on the national side”.
He also stressed the importance of intellectual foundations: “Hungary still has its national concept, it still has national feelings, it has its culture”. He said it is likewise important that Hungary has ambitions, communal and even national ambitions. “In order to preserve our national ambitions during the coming difficult period, we must stay together, the motherland, Transylvania and the other territories inhabited by Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin must stay together,” Orban said.
“The fact that we have always given the world more than we have received, that they have always taken away from us more than they have given us, that we have unsettled bills, that we are better, more diligent and more talented than where we are at present and the way we’re living, that the world owes us, and we want to and will collect that debt. That’s our strongest ambition,” Orban said concluding his address at the Saturday political forum of the 31st Balvanyos Summer Free University and Student Camp.
You can read this article as it originally appears at Hungary Journal here.
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