Hungary’s freedom and independence are the foundation of real and durable national unity, and so it is the “national minimum”, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office said in Veszprem, in western Hungary, on Wednesday, marking the 175th anniversary of the 1848-49 revolution and freedom fight.
Love of country and freedom are key to national unity, and a nation can persist as long as “we are ready to make sacrifices for our freedom and independence,” Gulyás said. During the revolutions sweeping Europe 175 years ago, the freedom rooted in civic rights was a common European goal, he said. The movement demanded equal rights for nations and their citizens, as well as independence, constitutional institutions, responsible governments, free press and the end of serfdom, and equality before the law, he said. After “that flame was trampled”, Hungary was the only one to fight the overwhelming force of an empire, he said. Although the freedom fight was later drowned in blood, it strengthened Hungarians’ yearning for freedom, he said. The message of 1848 is that individual freedom does not exist without the freedom of the community, “a shackled nation doesn’t have free citizens”. Hungarians wish the same things they have wished for since state founder St Stephen: to be an independent nation that “can decide its own fate, the issues of its country and its alliances,” he said. The European environment is “often hostile today, at a time when there is a war in a neighbouring country, because we want to preserve the living, organising values of God, homeland and family, at a time when the political expectation is to deny them,” he said.