Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s office chief, said that whereas the state does not have a monopoly over anyone’s faith, the state and government must have a clear social image and promote values that provide “the foundation for the preservation of the Hungarian future, national identity, survival and prosperity.” This, he added, cannot be achieved without the involvement of the historic churches. Speaking at an event of Reformed Church colleges of the Carpathian Basin held in Pécs, in southern Hungary, Gulyás said Europe today must recognise that “by giving up Christian culture and renouncing faith, everything that has characterised the continent for generations and centuries may be lost.” Citing Robert Schumann, one of the “founding fathers” of the European Union, he said: “Democracy owes its existence to Christianity … anti-Christian democracy will be a caricature that either sinks into tyranny or anarchy.”
Meanwile, Gulyás on Friday addressed the opening of the International School of Debrecen (ISD). He said Debrecen’s transformation into a cross-border regional centre would be impossible to sustain without such a high-level international school, which he noted has been built with 3.8 billion forints (EUR 11.5m) support from the central budget. There are few educational institutions in the region that have the International Baccalaureate (IB) certificate and ISD “will be a great opportunity for the city and also for Hungary”, he said. He also said that talented students from Debrecen and its region whose parents cannot afford to pay for the international school can apply for scholarships from the local council. The school will start operations with 56 students this year which is expected to increase to 500 in five years.