“The house of European conservatives has lately lost many of its inhabitants,” Katalin Novak, Hungary’s Minister for Families and the Vice-President of the ruling Fidesz party writes in an op-ed for Welt am Sonntag. The English version of the article was published on Fidesz’s website. Here’s the full text:
„With spoken words what often matter are not the facts, but what people with bad intentions want to use them for.” – Konrad Adenauer.
Recently, Manfred Weber argued in the columns of Welt am Sonntag that Fidesz – by leaving the European People’s Party, which has been constantly shifting towards the left – had become a far-right party and allied itself with AfD. As so often before, his statement does not reflect reality.
We are fighting a life-and-death battle with the coronavirus. European cooperation, too, is put to the test by the epidemic. It is difficult for European citizens to accept that there have been few vaccines authorized at European level, that shipments are slow and decision-making is hampered. They recognize the importance of solidarity, but they are right to think that solidarity does not mean losing lives we could have saved.
In the current crisis, people’s need for straightforward, honest, clear speech and action has become ever more apparent. They need to see a strong and successful Europe of Member States, nations and citizens, instead of a Europe of bureaucrats and institutions. There are more and more people who feel that freedom, nation, traditional family, Christian culture, human dignity are values that are no longer represented by parties who call themselves centre-right. These people are rightly outraged that they are stigmatized, excluded, and discriminated against, if their views differ from the left-wing liberal mainstream. An example of this is Hungarian goalkeeper trainer Zsolt Petry, who was sacked with immediate effect by Hertha BSC due to his tolerant but differing opinion from the German mainstream. More and more people feel unrepresented. Ever more often, the question arises: how can it be that the left only has a centre and the right only has an extreme?
In these demanding times, Hungary is trying to protect itself with all its strength. In addition to Western vaccines, we have doubled the available doses by procuring safe Russian and Chinese vaccines. Therefore, among EU Member States we now have the second highest rate of people vaccinated. We have increased the wage of doctors, we have launched the largest home-building programme in Hungarian history, and starting next year, young people will be exempt from paying personal income tax. In the meantime, governments and politicians across Europe have been weakened, or resigned even, due to corruption scandals and lies. Quo vadis Europa?
We, Hungarians, who have been living as a Christian nation in the heart of Europe for more than a millennium, we know where we are going. We have a resolute idea about how to defend our culture and national values, and at the same time build a competitive and modern country. We are hospitable towards everyone who arrive with respect and intentions of building a common future.
Yet, our surprise could not be bigger when seeing commentary about Hungary from Brussels or Germany. Memories of Karl May come to mind, who using his fantastic imagination was able to describe the wild west in detail – without ever seeing it. But life in Hungary is not part of a fantasy world, nor is it an adventure novel. Repeated falsehoods are not the only problem. As the quality of reporting, the knowledge about our country and our people are decreasing, so does the media become increasingly exposed to becoming a political sledgehammer.
During the last eleven years of our governance, we have taken three decisions (note: all compatible with European law), that are unforgiveable sins in a European space dominated by left-wing liberal media and politics. In 2011, we have codified in our new constitution, the Fundamental Law, that marriage is the union between one man and one woman. In 2015, we have said no to mass immigration, and today we also use vaccines authorized by Hungarian authorities. These decisions qualify as sins as soon as a large Member State changes its path (for example on marriage being a union between a man and a woman); remain sins until a large Member State follows our example (for example procures Russian vaccines); or remain unforgiveable until a large Member State admits its mistake (for example about migration). The left has long been playing the game of scrutinizing the EPP for Hungary’s alleged breaches of democratic principles and rule of law. The fatal blow was delivered when Weber was pushed into a corner and he publicly stated that he does not want to be president of the European Commission with the votes of Fidesz. His wish was granted.
The campaign against Hungary has taken on a life of its own. Its purpose is to create the impression that Hungary is run by an oppressive regime, which is isolated and far behind. What nonsense!
The Central European cooperation of the Visegrád Four and their potential to defend their common interests is outstanding. The Hungarian prime minister will soon be the most experienced leader in the European Council. And now, following Fidesz’s departure from the EPP, it is clear that the majority of democratic right-wing parties would gladly strengthen their cooperation with the Hungarian governing party.
On the 1st of April Viktor Orbán hosted in Budapest the largest parties of European right-wing political parties: Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Matteo Salvini, leader of Lega, the most popular party in Italy and member of the coalition government led by Mario Draghi. The three leaders agreed to reorganize the European democratic right. In the future, we will cooperate with parties who say yes to freedom, to nation, to family, to Christianity and to human dignity, and say no to migration, imperial logic, communism, censorship and anti-Semitism.
In Germany, CDU and CSU are the natural political allies of Fidesz. We admire their outstanding historic personalities, Konrad Adenauer, Helmut Kohl, who imagined Europe. Although we see that masses disappointed with the leftward shift of the EPP have become politically homeless, we do not envisage an alliance with other German parties – even if some are determined to create this impression.
On the contrary, Fidesz firmly distances itself from parties that do not respect constitutional norms. In Hungary, we are the only such political force, as the entire spectrum of opposition parties – post-communists, socialists, liberals, greens – have created an alliance with an openly anti-Semitic, racist party, Jobbik, in order to put forward joint candidates against ours. Has this political blasphemy received any kind of reaction from European level? Your intuition is right: not even as much as a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice declaring the Hungarian advertisement tax lawful, despite allegations that it violates media freedom.
Fidesz represents true conservative values. In Europe, we need a democratic right that does not care to please the left-green zeitgeist, but instead one that wants to shape the future of Europe in cooperation with right-wing parties.
The house of European conservatives has lately lost many of its inhabitants. Those remaining rarely dare to speak openly even among themselves. We are ready to bring new life to this house and open its doors to new thought and to potential new inhabitants, so that more and more may experience that it is good to be here and to be free. This is how we may create a political home for millions in Europe. Furthermore, it may also mean the resurrection of the European democratic right. This is our „Wilkommenskultur” for Europe.