Hungary can be expected to strengthen over the next five years, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has told a Hungarian Diaspora Council meeting. A mother country, if weak, is unable to pursue good diaspora policies, Orbán told members of the council representing organisations of Hungarians scattered around the world.
In his speech, he cited the latest jobless figures showing that Hungary is close to full employment. Speaking about the country’s economic and social achievements over the past few years, Orbán said: “We were black sheep but for precisely that reason the success story is ours.”
Orbán said the outcome of the US election and Brexit heralded the start of a new era and underlined “the Hungarian interpretation” that “we don’t spend our days simply one day after another but we live our lives amid an era that is gaining distance from a bygone world”.
In the decades ahead, four of the world’s five most significant economies will be in the Pacific region as opposed to the previous “Atlantic period”, he argued.
The prime minister said the issue of Brexit was a response to the “question of democracy” and whether it would succeed in recreating the overlap of the people’s will and decisions by the political elite. Orbán cited the approaching Italian referendum, the Austrian presidential election, Dutch parliamentary elections and the French presidential election as similar cases.
He underlined his condemnation of political correctness. “If we dared to speak about the nation, then we were called nationalists; if it was about creation, then we were clericists, feudalists and medieval. If we spoke about the family and marriage between a man and woman, then we were branded as being sexist and homophobic.”
He trusted that this would become a thing of the past in America. “In Europe we still have problems,” however “we stand on the threshold and instead of liberal non-democracy we will at last be able to return to democracy.”
The era of a foreign policy based on the “primitive concept” of exporting democracy would come to an end now a new US administration would soon be in place.
On migration, Orbán underscored his position that “we are not talking about a simple onset of migrants … We face a global phenomenon which will last for many years.”
Given the history of Hungary and Europe, “our first thought concerns what dangers threaten us”. The dangers for Hungary over the past two decades had declined significantly after the country joined several important communities.
He cited the example of NATO membership, stating that even though it guarantees the highest possible level of military security, this does not mean that Hungary does not need an army of its own.
The military development schemes under way “in our neighbourhood” demonstrated the important task ahead not to fall behind in terms of strike capability compared with other countries in the region. The Hungarian army should become a serious strike force.
Orbán said that accepting Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia as European Union member states would be in the interest of all Hungarians as well as being a pan-European interest. Further resources were needed and the EU would not be able to renew itself without further enlargement.
Hungary’s interest lay in having successful neighbours so that the entire region could strengthen. It was also a basic interest that every member of the Visegrád Four group should strengthen its position.
At the same time, “chances today are not very good” as there was “enlargement fatigue” in the EU. Many believed that the continual “reshaping” of the community should be completed first and what already existed should be saved.
“This seems logical but it doesn’t make sense politically,” Orbán said. Hungary’s interest lay in having successful neighbours so that the region could get stronger.
It was hard to be successful among unsuccessful neighbours, and it was a basic interest that all four Visegrád group members should gain in strength based on trust, ensuring Europe’s economic growth in the years to come.
With this, an external environment for Hungary’s economic successes had developed.
Hungary-Ukraine relations are on an “upward path” and Serbia-Hungary relations have perhaps never been as well-balanced as they are today, the prime minister said.