Hungary is waging a growing war against the liberal mainstream, said Hungarian Speaker of the House László Kövér in an interview with conservative daily Magyar Nemzet, one day before the June 4 centenary of the Trianon Treaty at the end of World War I which robbed Hungary of two-thirds of its territory.
“This is war that is spreading. On the one side, we have the public media occupied by the liberals, the academic sphere and the left-wing members who have occupied the judiciary, who have become one of the columns in the civil war waged against the nation states and their constitutions,” Kövér said.
These same liberal intellectuals and member of the mainstream are hoping for a changed world following the coronavirus crisis, one which they can shape to their liking, but Kövér does not believe they will get what they want.
“I’m afraid this is nothing more than a prayer of atheist liberal intellectuals,” Kövér said. “Material interests still dictate that everything should return to the way before as soon as possible. I see no compelling force that would bring about a fundamental change in the globally dominant way of life.”
‘A butchering of justice’
The 60-year-old Kövér, a founding member of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party, is widely considered a key intellectual of his party, whose infrequent media appearances often contain new ideas that later become party mainstay.
Kövér said that a key element of Hungary’s battle to preserve the nation state is being waged in the courts. Speaking about recent international court decisions against Hungary, Kövér said these members of the judiciary interpret their independence as a sort of immunity which permits them to make decisions in total isolation from public opinion.
“It is not rare that they would go against concrete, written law. For example, in my opinion the ruling regarding the transit zones is a butchering of justice,” he said. “It is not an accident that lately the political dictionary and the dictionary of political publicists have a new expression: juristocracy.”
He also pointed out that Germany’s recent court ruling that found the European Court of Justice does not have supremacy over national courts is a beacon of hope for nation states but that Germany is still “schizophrenic” in such matters.
“On the other side, there is for example, the German Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, which in its latest ruling is attempting to make a stand against a stealthy destruction of the nation state, while at the same also being an indication of the schizophrenic condition of Germany. While it is attempting to becoming the dominant force of a federalized Europe, it is also striving to give up as little of its own national sovereignty as possible,” Kövér said.
Hungary is well-positioned despite the coronavirus crisis
Within Hungary, the opposition has been disappointed that Orbán’s Fidesz party has so successfully handled the coronavirus crisis.
“On the other hand, the Hungarian opposition not only did not support the epidemiological efforts of the government, but also tried to discredit them,” said Kövér, who added that opposition figure Tímea Szabó chose a broadcaster on the side of the world, Australian public television, to badmouth the country and accuse the government of installing a dictatorship.
Kövér said that not only would Hungary emerge in a far better position than other EU member states following the coronavirus but that the country has been an upward trajectory since Fidesz came to power in 2010.
“Morally and in terms of state functioning, the country was in a much worse position by 2008 than at any time since 1990. In comparison, by 2020, we will have ten years of continuous development, in which almost all economic and social indicators — from economic growth to employment, income, the proportion of people living in poverty to the number of marriages and births — have improved significantly,” he said.
Recently, a study found that the Orban government has fulfilled 95 percent of its original promises in the ten years it has been in power.
Kövér said that the opposition is trying to replicate what occurred during the disastrous Trianon Treaty in the modern times by trying to “overthrow the Orbán government, destroy the country, squeeze it into the mud, and take away EU funds” with the help of left-wing international supporters.
Hungary’s relationship with its neighbors is improving (with some exceptions)
Speaking about Hungary’s relationships with its neighbors — all of which now hold territories that once belonged to Hungary — he said Hungarian diplomacy is striving to forge new relationships with all of them with varying degrees of success. He said once nationalist Serbia, for example, has given up its dreams of a “greater Serbia” and relationships with it have in the past decade been dominated by goodwill gestures, whereas relations with Croatia and Slovenia are also based on partnership.
The issues of Hungarian minorities in other European countries, which resulted from the Trianon Treaty issued over 100 years ago, still has broad repercussions today, but in many ways Europe does not view Hungarian minorities as having the same value as other minority groups.
“Throughout history, Western European states have always looked down on Central Europe,” said Kövér. “Therefore, they do not think that what happens to the Basques, the Germans living in Belgium or the Swedes of Åland belonging to Finland has anything to with Hungarians living across borders.”
Minority populations also lead to Balkanization and help keep nations from forming their own distinct cultures — a useful tool for Brussels, says Kövér.
He pointed out that “one-tenth of the population of the European Union — 50 million people — live in a minority in the homeland of their ancestors, but in Brussels, their problems and demands are pushed into the background. All of this is understandable given that, unlike national communities, these so-called minorities are excellent tools for breaking down European culture, which is a prerequisite for targeted imperial centralization.”
Kövér acknowledged that in terms of Hungarian foreign policy, the two most difficult cases are those of Ukraine and Romania.
“Romanian intellectuals are incapable of realizing that they cannot build a country against the [ethnic] Hungarians. The cynicism with which Romanian politicians on the opposite sides of the spectrum keep outdoing one another by using the nationalist card,” he said.
While he did not mention any names, he was referring to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis’ inflammatory statement delivered on April 29, in which he accused the ethnic Hungarian minority in Transylvania, the Social Democratic Party and the prime minister himself of plotting to give Transylvania to Hungary.
Title image: Speaker of the House László Kövér. (Magyar Nemzet/Árpád Kurucz)