- 13 Feb 2017 6:00 AM
He said the question would be whether Hungary would succeed in protecting the utility cuts scheme or once again let corporations set utility prices. Orbán said Hungary would also have to defend against “the increased activities of international organisations” and attempts by foreign entities to gain influence in the country.
In spite of Hungarians voting down the settlement of migrants in the country in a referendum last year, organisations supported by Hungarian-born American financier George Soros “are working to bring in hundreds of thousands of migrants to Europe”, Orbán said. He said the fourth and fifth “attacks” would be launched against Hungary’s right to keep tax policy and support for job creation a matter of national policy.
Regarding the former, he said Brussels was looking to take over further economic competencies from member states. He argued that member states must now ask themselves whether they would still be free to decide on their own tax policies. He said the same question applied to job creation.
The prime minister said all five issues concerned the question of national self-determination, adding that defending against the “attacks” would require new national policies.
On another subject, the prime minister said history in 2016 “ignored all predictions” and “took a sharp turn”. Orbán said Europeans who had been “silenced by political correctness” and “whose voices had not been heard” had rebelled.
The prime minister mentioned Brexit, the US presidential election, the “ousting” of the Italian government and Hungary’s migrant quota referendum as examples of people expressing that they had had enough of “smugness and self-righteousness” and of “being force-fed” utopian ideals.
He said democracy based on reason had been replaced by “democracy based on correctness”. Under this model, the power of decision making was taken away from elected governments and handed to “media moguls and unelected international organisations”, he said.
Orbán added that supporters of “globalist politics” had not given up. Instead they declared that “democracy was over” in countries where the liberal forces had lost the elections. He said “globalists” had declared that “the people pose a danger to democracy”. And so people who had been “in a panic over the state of press freedom” are suddenly calling for restrictions on the media and the internet, Orbán said. Orban also said that in spite of the European Union’s current prosperous state, the future “casts a shadow on the present”.
The prime minister said the “battle lines” of last year’s “revolts” had been clearly defined: nations rebelled against globalists and the middle class rebelled against its political leaders. Orban said that in the EU this translated into a conflict between sovereign countries and “unionists” and between voters and “Brussels bureaucrats”. Orbán identified political correctness, which he called the “political thought police” of the West, as the source of the public discontent that had escalated into the “revolts” of 2016.
Hungarians were “perhaps the first to revolt, in 2010,” he said, adding that Hungary has since then developed a political and economic system of its own, one “tailored to our needs and taste”. As examples for Hungary’s “revolt”, he mentioned “sending home” the International Monetary Fund, taxing multinational corporations and cutting household utility fees.
Orbán emphasised that although the former U.S. administration, Brussels and “even Berlin” had declared that the migrants must not be halted, Hungary’s government resisted, built a fence along the southern border and stopped them, protecting Hungary and “incidentally Europe”. “Of course, Hungary will grant safe haven to genuine refugees, those who want to find here the Europe they had lost at home,” Orbán said.
Orbán said Hungary’s future was secure, arguing that the country was making progress and getting stronger. “Tomorrow doesn’t cast a shadow on today,” he said. “We have no reason to be nervous about tomorrow.” He said that if everyone completes the tasks assigned to them and obeys the law, “there won’t be any trouble” and everyone can take a step forward each year.
Orbán also said Hungary had “finally managed” to overcome its “culture of self-pity” and adopt a “culture of action”. He said Hungarians had suffered enough from “unstable, impotent and dull” leaders, who had always found ways to explain why “we couldn’t have certain things”. He said self-pity, which he called the culture of the past Socialist governments, had been a “curse” on the country.
He said a sign of good governance was that when the public’s goals are accomplished, the people think they did not even need their leaders. “Let 2017 be a year at the end of which we think that was a piece of cake,” the prime minister said. “Go Hungary! Go Hungarians!”, Orbán said, closing the speech.
Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.
MTI photo: Koszticsák Szilárd