Speaking about the immigration crisis at a conference introducing the discussion document “Signs of the Times” held in Budapest on Friday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that Europe has been betrayed, and if we do not stand up for it, this Europe will be taken away from us.

He said that if we do not stand up for Europe, the continent will no longer be the Europe of the people who live here, but a few leaders never elected by anyone – propagandists controlling huge capital flows who think outside the boundaries of nation states – will realise their madcap dreams. “If the Soros Foundation comes into your mind now, that is not entirely unjustified”, the Prime Minister told his audience at the event, which was organised by the Federation of Christian Intellectuals, the Hungarian Civic Cooperation Association and the Batthyány Society of Professors.

DownloadWe must turn to the people so that they can say “yes” or “no” to what is happening today. Photo: Károly Árvai/Prime Minister’s Office

Mr. Orbán said that it is hardly surprising that thousands of people are being transported to Europe every day: “this is not simply about impotence and helplessness”, but about the desire of some to implement a deliberate project, which can be described as left-wing and which seeks to marginalise nation states. Where they have failed to overcome Christianity and the identity of the nation state in conventional political struggle, they will attempt this by ethnic means.

“In opposition to this conspiracy, and against this betrayal, we must turn to democracy, we must turn to the people”, so that they can say “yes” or “no” to what is happening today, the Prime Minister said. He therefore suggested first the launch of a European debate, the purpose of which he sees as lying in the emergence of a strong, Christian Europe. He also spoke about the protection of Austria’s borders; on this he quoted Austria’s elected leader, who said that “we are not building a fence, but a gate – with long fixed sections on either side”.

DownloadEurope is now in such an intellectual and spiritual state that certain words not allowed to be used. Photo: Károly Árvai/Prime Minister’s Office

This reference to the recent words of Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann provoked a roar of laughter among the audience in the room. Mr. Orbán said that at first this may appear to be funny, but it is in fact pathetic. In his view, this shows that Europe – which used to be a world of freedom of speech – is now in such an intellectual and spiritual state that certain words, like “fence”, are not allowed to be used. In his speech the Prime Minister also reiterated at length the history of the civic political community in Hungary after the fall of communism, mentioning, for example, 1994; that was when “the communists returned”, though in parliamentary elections, rather than “in tanks” – which was “a change in quality”. In that year, the first attempt was made to build a civic alliance, but the time was not yet ripe.

He also spoke about the relationship between Fidesz and KDNP, in which he described the role of the Christian Democratic People’s Party within the alliance as being like that of an anchor. It is likewise no mere coincidence, he continued, that the current composition of the Constitutional Court – which is, in his view, at least as important as that of Parliament – is fundamentally conservative and Christian democratic in its majority. With its decisions the Constitutional Court seeks to uphold the constitutional foundations which Fidesz and KDNP created jointly, he said. As part of his historical overview, he further stressed that the Fundamental Law created in the first term of this government is the Hungarian nation’s first democratically conceived constitution.

DownloadThis document may rightly aspire to become the compass for governments over the next ten years. Photo: Károly Árvai/Prime Minister’s Office

In his forty-minute speech, Mr. Orbán reflected on the thoughts of previous speakers, including Zoltán Osztie, President of the Federation of Christian Intellectuals, who expressed his regret at the lack of a church strategy. The Prime Minister said that now that András Veres has been elected President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Hungary, there will be a strategy – but he is not certain whether the Government will like it.

Regarding the discussion document entitled “Signs of the Times”, the Prime Minister said that it may rightly aspire to become a compass for governments over the next ten years, which he hopes will be of the right. As the press release distributed at the event states, in the debate document Signs of the Times presented at the Italian Cultural Institute (which was home to the House of Representatives of the Hungarian Parliament between 1865 and 1902), Christian intellectuals evaluate “Hungarian reality”, “show society the way”, take account of results achieved, but also express criticism and make suggestions.

(Prime Minister's Office)