5 months ago
The European People's Party ran out of patience with Orbán and Fidesz after the Soros–Juncker billboard campaign, and 13 parties are now demanding the exclusion of Fidesz from the EPP. I wish you a good evening. Welcome. Manfred Weber, EPP faction leader, gave a hard-toned interview on the German public television, which I just quoted from, after having talked to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Tuesday in Budapest. Orbán made it clear that Hungary cannot and does not want to compromise on the issues of protecting external borders, rejecting migration, and protecting Christian culture. After the meeting, Gergely Gulyás, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, made a statement. Here is an excerpt from that.
We are pleased that Manfred Weber personally provided information on his own ideas to the Hungarian Prime Minister, and we are particularly pleased that the protection of external borders and the stopping of migration play an important role in his vision of the future of Europe. Protecting external borders and stopping migration are also key issues for us. That is why we can support Manfred Weber as president of the European Commission. Today's discussion also provided a guarantee that, if he were the President of the Commission, he would stand firm against migration and would consider the protection of external borders as an important goal.
My guest in the studio is László Csizmadia, founding president of the Civil Union Forum. I wish you a good evening.
Many things have happened since the statement of Minister Gulyás Gergely. If we observe the various interviews, first of all of Manfred Weber, we see that he chose a much tougher voice in relation to Orbán Viktor and Fidesz and the People's Party in the interview with the German public television. According to some guesses and analyses, Fidesz has no future in the European People's Party. Rather, an alliance should be sought with conservative and national-minded parties, such as the Polish Law and Justice or the Italian League. Obviously, it is no coincidence that on March 15th Viktor Orbán will celebrate with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The Polish prime minister will give a speech, and the Civil Union Forum will also celebrate with Polish guests. I would like to ask you to analyze the Orbán–Weber meeting in light of this.
I think—if I want to be a little funny—that the further Weber gets away from Orbán—and he's really going away, he's going back to Germany—the braver he gets on these issues. But, let's not forget that Weber is just one person in the People's Party, and the proportions don't look appear as if Fidesz will definitely be excluded from the party. The main thing is, as Pope John Paul II said, do not be afraid. What do we have to worry about? We have nothing to be worried about. The success of Viktor Orbán since 2015 has been clear, and he was only able to achieve it by having the large majority of the Hungarian electorate behind him, as well as a civil movement that was always deployable when the country was hit by an attack from Brussels. Now, if this is the case, and it is being increasingly perceived in the West, but the company of Weber, and the company of Juncker, and the company of Merkel are still unwilling to ask their own voters what they think about immigration, then these politicians are still moving in an empty space and are ignoring their own voters. So I think Hungary has set an example for Western Europe. And one more sentence: I wouldn't hide my opinion that we must be prepared for a plan B.
László Trócsányi, Minister of Justice and leader of the Fidesz EP list, has also said in an interview that the Fidesz has no plan B.
I cannot imagine that a government that is in its the third cycle, and the economic results show that we are an open society in a good sense, does not have a plan. I don't think that Viktor Orbán does not have a plan, and I think his plans were confirmed by the referendum and the results of the national consultations. None of the Western countries can show an electoral support in this proportion.
What can European civilians bring forth? You have just drawn our attention to civil movements, and I would like to ask you about it, because you have an idea about not only of the domestic but also of the European civil movements. How do you see the current European elite finding a common voice with civil organizations in each country? How well do they know what the voters want?
I think they are on the wrong track in civil matters, and we could even start with the foundations, democracy, not just what they say about migration. The story is about the fact that Brussels has completely turned away from real democracy and is not willing to accept the principle of popular sovereignty. At most they are excited about it when there is an EP election or when Manfred Weber has the opportunity to take the most comfortable chair, the chair of the European Commission, if he is supported. But, that is not much. And, why do we have an idea about it? Let us not forget that we are constantly being instructed by 17,000 intellectual home defenders who are Hungarians with a good insight on the rest of the world. It's not just about the fact that we have a very good family law, or to make things simpler: to provide big families the benefits of being able to buy a car. But, these people say we need a Europe where the stale air must be released forever, where freedom must be taken seriously in its true form, and the wonderful idea of the founding fathers about an alliance of equal nations in Europe should be followed. So in Western Europe there is a huge gap between the electorates and the governments that lead them and also the implanted Brussels representatives.
I would like to stop here for a moment to discuss the values and the common questions, only in connection with what former Minister of Human Resources Zoltán Balog said about the Weber–Orbán meeting. He said that both parties should raise the important question: which are the values that presently connect Fidesz and the People's Party? Earlier, he said here on Echo TV that Fidesz's loyalty to the European People's Party was never questioned. However, let's talk a little bit about what you just mentioned, namely how loyal the European People's Party is to the ideas of the founding fathers? How does the EPP relate now to the thoughts, ideas, and values of the founding fathers?
You answered the question almost exactly: there was a huge, 180-degree turn in the People's Party. For if those who declare themselves to be national and conservative are willing to vote together with the 13 mini parties who seek to expel Fidesz, then they agree that Christian civilization has no future in Europe. Then they agree that the federal plans that Juncker and maybe also Macron and Merkel are cherishing are the future of Europe. However, I feel that Central Eastern Europe, which has been in a colonial situation for so long and has not enjoyed the benefits of colonialism for more than 200 years, has a totally different approach. Here, people protect their own civilization, and nation and family are sacred to us.
It is no secret. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán himself has talked about this several times, most recently if I remember correctly in the usual Friday morning interview at Kossuth Radio, that he has been negotiating for a long time with, for example, the Polish Law and Justice Party, which is not a member of the People's Party. How much do you think it is a realistic scenario that, if not now, but let's say after the European Parliament elections, when it is clear what new political groups are going to be formed, that Fidesz would step out of the People's Party and form a coalition with other nationalist parties or would join an existing party family?
I think our friendship with the Poles is not a coincidence, and it really is a thousand years old. It was not started ten years ago with the friendship between the people of Civil Union Forum and Gazeta Polska. Yes, there is a border that is not quite drawn yet with a red pencil, from Italy to the Western Balkans through the V4, not forgetting Austria, to Poland, and it will reach the Baltic states as well. Here we could talk about a plan B again, but this is not a plan. The core of the European Union is forcing it upon us, if I may say it, to defend ourselves. And, whoever is being attacked must defend themselves, otherwise they will be destroyed. But, there is a very interesting thing here. If they would start thinking, they could see that today, this well-established Central Eastern European cooperation either will sustain the decaying Western civilization, as it did in the Mongol, the Tatar, and Turkish times, or if they think that they should keep kicking us, then we are going to rightfully turn away from them. And, it will not mean anger, but simply healthy self-defense.
Viktor Orbán called our attention to an interesting thing, and if you allow me, I’ll quote some thoughts from his interview with Kossuth Radio. The prime minister said that Europe is undergoing a transformation, and everything in the European political space should be regarded with keeping in mind that a long-lasting and profound transformation is happening in European life and therefore in European politics. Migration and immigration have changed our lives. This is the most important issue for the future of Europe and thus for politics too. In reflection of all of this, a completely new dividing line has emerged in recent years in the political sense for which the most obvious example is the electoral campaign of the EP elections. Does it still make sense to talk about classical political divisions, that is right, left, liberals, Christian Democrats, etc.?
I can only give you my own opinions on this issue, but they are reinforced by many others. The so-called created ideologies, the “isms,” must be forgotten. The real interest of not just the people of Europe, but of all people in the world, is to determine their fate and to give confidence to those who represent their interests during the election cycles. So there is a big gap here. People will not care about isms. The only exception is Christian civilization, because it is deeply implanted. It has its roots, and people will never give it up just because of violence. The other thing is that now the European civil society will demand that its voice be taken seriously and that our petitions receive normal responses. For example, excuse me, but who has invited immigrants to Europe? Where and with what idea did the modern-day conquest begin? And, if this happened, then who bears the political and moral responsibility for, for example, 30,000 people drowning in the Mediterranean Sea? Then where is solidarity?! Well, a serious-minded government or a serious-minded European Union would obviously have thought about the technique of this before they took such steps to invite migrants and terrorists with them to Europe. If there is a shortage of labor, how can it be solved so that only those come who will go back later and return the goods that they made with normal work here. But, it's not about that. The story is about—maybe this is a nasty word, but—in the bureaucrats in Brussels, idiotism is very strong.
Well, this should not be the last word. We have very little time left. Let’s tell the viewers that on Friday, March 15th at 1:30 pm at the Bem statue, the Civil Union Forum will be expecting everyone with our Polish friends.
Yes, we are expecting everyone with great welcome. Let us Hungarians be at least as many as the Poles, but I am sure that will be the case, and we will celebrate together like we have in the past ten years.
László Csizmadia, thank you for accepting the invitation.
Will it be the candidate of the almost completely unknown Progressive Slovakia, Zuzana Čaputová, or Slovak EU Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič or Béla Bugár, the candidate of the Slovak-Hungarian mixed party? Slovakia will elect its president on Saturday, March 16th. We are now connecting via phone with Géza Tokár, a political scientist from Slovakia and a researcher of the Forum Minority Research Institute. I wish you a good evening.
Good evening, welcome.
Do you agree with the summary that the presidential election in Slovakia looks like a real political reality show now? For example, how did Zuzana Čaputová and Progressive Slovakia win 50% of the electorate while being almost completely unknown and in such a short time?
Yes, as far as presidential elections and the prognosis are concerned, a very important thing needs to be clarified. These are surveys that were made two weeks before the election date. And, this is a very serious limitation, because Slovak politics is rather unstable. There are a lot of undecided voters whose positions and party sympathies are really hard to measure. Čaputová’s results, the last two infamous surveys, showed overwhelming support for her, which happened before the introduction of the restriction. It has to be seen that this was exactly the same period when the main opponent, Robert Mistrík, stepped back in favor of Čaputová, and therefore it is very difficult to say whether supporters have actually survived or continued to grow or that the euphoria went down a little. And, the same statement is true for all of the other presidential candidates, as there were huge fluctuations in the support of either Šefčovič, Béla Bugár, or the extremist Marian Kotleba. So we are very curious to see what surprises Saturday will bring compared to the poll results.
There were more candidates at the start. The candidate of the Party of the Hungarian Community, József Menyhárt, stepped down much earlier. Who does the Party of the Hungarian Community support now, and why did finding an agreed upon Hungarian candidate not work out?
Well, it is a very good question, why we couldn’t find a consensual Hungarian candidate. I do not think that there was any intention for that in either party. If I remember correctly, Béla Bugár was the first to announce his own personal start without any consultation with anyone. Although another question is how likely it would have been to win the support of the Party of the Hungarian Community. Probably not very. And then the Party of the Hungarian Community also came up with its own candidate. This is unfortunate, especially in light of the fact that during the previous presidential election, five years ago, Gyula Bárdos was a common candidate. It must be seen, however, that the Most-Híd did not want to agree five years ago either, and in the first round, it supported the common candidate of the right-wing opposition in Slovakia and not the Hungarian candidate. At this moment, Béla Bugár is the only candidate who is an ethnic Hungarian that has remained in competition. But, Béla Bugár's campaign got some ethnic flavor only in the past one or two weeks, after the result came out that his support was rather low. So it seems that now he could only count on the vote of the Hungarians.
Yes, I also read while I was preparing for our conversation that it is difficult to say, without fresh data, how open the Slovakian or Hungarian electorate is to Béla Bugár, the big veteran of Slovakian politics. On Saturday we will have an answer. Answer one more question, Géza. Slovakia has long been not the country of SMER, the party of Robert Fico, especially since the murder of Ján Kuciak. But, is there still a way back for the SMER from its downturn?
SMER is definitely in a wave of downturn, and the party’s support is decreasing. At the same time, it has to be seen that it is still quite strong at the regional level and in its regional structures. Parties are coming and going, and if no popular successor of Robert Ficó will appear, then SMER is really awaiting a slow demise and desertification.
Practically, would they have to repeat what President Danko has done with the Slovak National Party? Because he could pull back the Slovak National Party after the Slota era.
For Central European parties, and particularly for Slovak parties, it is true that the stronger and more popular their leaders, the stronger and more popular the party itself becomes. There are very few parties that could survive such a change of leadership, simply because they do not build the next leaders, the next party leaders. At this moment, we cannot really see that Robert Fico, who is clearly worn-out, as he was the prime minister of Slovakia and still is the president of SMER, that he would have any intention to hand over this post or have the ambition to raise a successor.
So, on Saturday, March 16th, Slovakia is electing its president. Géza Tokár, thank you for the analysis. Dear viewers, thank you very much for your attention. Goodbye, and see you in a week.