The must-have newsletter about Hungary

Related Articles



“Hungary today is on a promising path, its finances in order, the public debt is falling, growth is strong, wages are rising, small and medium-sized businesses are expanding, families are getting bigger, and nation-building is vibrant,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in his annual address at the “Tusványos” summer university. Orbán also said that thanks to complex manoeuvres, US billionaire “George Soros’s man has been prevented from taking over the European Commission and placing his ideological guerrillas in important European positions.” The prime minister said the commission should act as the guardian of the European treaties. “Political activism must be stopped,” he said. “It’s not a political body … its job isn’t to organise political attacks against member states.” “It sets the direction and the strategic decisions are made by the European Council of elected prime ministers,” he added.

Orbán insisted that “errors made in the EU over the last five years” must be corrected, especially in the areas of migration and the economy. The commission should no longer preoccupy itself with migration, he said, adding that a council of interior ministers of Schengen area member states should take over all responsibilities related to migration.

He called for European socialism to be stopped in its tracks and for a competitive European economy to be restored. “We must support successful economies and reject the idea of raising unemployment benefits at European level,” Orbán said. Instead, jobs must be created and taxes reduced everywhere, he said, adding that red tape must be cut and investments encouraged in place of austerity policies.

The prime minister said that if the government’s assessment of the European economic outlook turned out to be the case next spring, it would be necessary to draw up a second economic protection plan by then, and possibly a third one in the autumn of 2020. The action plans would have to be geared towards improving the country’s competitiveness, he said, adding that western European economies were not developing well enough to support Hungary’s desired growth trajectory. He said Hungary must rethink its plans for 2020-2021 in order to minimise external risks and mobilise internal resources.

Speaking about the impending agenda, Orbán said Hungary would be embroiled in a battle of the rule of law, too. He added, however, that Hungary must “hold its nerve” but at the same time “we shouldn’t offend our partners”. Referring to the Finnish EU presidency, Orbán said: “We will evaluate the state of Hungarian rule of law with our Finnish friends.”

Orbán said common wisdom held that liberal democracies were the natural order in a world pervaded by “a kind of liberal internationalism” leading to the formation of a “liberal empire”. The European Union, he insisted, was an embodiment of this idea. “Obviously, something entirely different is happening in Hungary,” Orbán said. The sense of belonging to a nation, he said, had been slipping away and Hungarian communities living beyond the border had struggled to withstand pressure to assimilate. Moreover, the means to protect sovereignty — the police and army — had been degraded, he added. In 2010, solving these inherited problems within a framework of liberal democracy looked impossible and so something else had to be done, he said. Orbán argued for preserving the framework of the free market system and democratic legal and political institutions while changing the existing social structures. “In other words, ‘yes’ to democracy, ‘no’ to liberalism,” Orbán said. “We had to rethink and put the relationship between the individual and society on a new footing,” he said.