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Editorial

If we want Europe to remain the best place in the world, says PM Orbán, we must take up the fight to preserve it

| April 5, 2017

Reflecting on the future of Europe, Prime Minister Orbán began his remarks at the European People’s Party Congress in Europe in Malta by thanking God that after suffering for decades under communist dictatorship and Soviet military occupation, Central Europe was finally able to rejoin the European family.

The journey home was a return to our rightful place, a return to a Europe that remains an ideal place – for the time being. “The way we see it,” the prime minister said, “Europe is the best place in the world for human life. For the time being. We can live in freedom and prosperity, in our own cultural environment. For the time being,” he said, emphasizing that this cannot be taken for granted.

Many of the founders of the original European idea came from the people’s parties and Christian democratic movements around the continent. Today, the forces of the center-right face a political adversary that wants to transform Europe by allowing unbridled immigration, that would cast aside subsidiarity and encumber labor markets with bureaucratic rules. In the face of this adversary, the center-right political forces of Europe must summon the confidence to “accept the intellectual and political fight with the Left,” the prime minister said.

That struggle will require courage, he said, both to recognize and rectify mistakes and to confront challenges.

“If we think about the future, we can see serious dangers; we must therefore speak frankly and openly. This is a precondition of our future success. We have a competitiveness crisis. We have a migration crisis. We have a security and terror crisis. We have a demographic crisis. And we have a foreign policy crisis – with a destabilized Ukraine and a boiling Balkans. I have to say, the future of Europe is casting a shadow on the present of Europe. Tomorrow is casting a shadow on today. This explains why radical parties were able to gain ground even here in the most successful continent of the world.”

“Migration turned out to be the Trojan horse of terrorism,” he continued, and conservatives must defend Europe against that threat, first by fighting off the ideological issues. “I understand that the Left is putting us under ideological pressure, for the West to feel guilty for the crusades and colonialism, but this leftist policy is intellectually disarming Europe against the invasion of Muslim migration.”

Eastern European countries, which have no history of colonialism, are confronting a different kind of pressure that comes from a contemptuous dishonesty about their lack of solidarity. “We Hungarians are protecting the borders of the European Union over hundreds of kilometers – without any major contribution from the EU, in fact, but suffering from the backfire of Brussels,” the prime minister said. “This is the real solidarity.”

The fact that Hungary has successfully defended the European border is “living proof that defense is possible,” but at the European level, migration policies must be changed:

“We must take those away from our territory, who have arrived illegally, and we must refuse to label any EU member state as a non-safe country. The Human Rights Court has to be reformed urgently because its judgments are a threat to the security of European people and an invitation for migrants. And the key element: every legal procedure should be conducted outside the territory of the European Union, by creating safe spots on the shores of Libya. Obviously, we must provide help for those who are in trouble. We should deliver help to the places where it is needed and not bring the problem to ourselves.”

But migration is only one of the problems confronting Europe, the prime minister said. In fact, the whole foreign policy of the EU must be changed. “My homeland is the gate to the Balkans. I see every day, how Russian, Turkish and American influence is growing, whilst the influence of the European Union is decreasing. This is a bad policy and it’s time we change it.”

With that, the prime minister turned to the gravest problem facing the continent, the Left’s deadly project for Europe.

“The Left has a clear action plan to transform Europe,” the prime minister said. “They want to let millions of Muslims in. They want to put aside subsidiarity. They want to force bureaucratic rules on our labor markets. They want to raise taxes, and ultimately, Socialists want to build socialism in Europe. This would be fatal for Europe. We would lose our Christian identity, lose our competitiveness, and lose the hope of full employment.”

The center-right forces of Europe must defeat this plan, according to the prime minister, by taking pride in our ideological and cultural roots.

“I suggest we accept the intellectual and political fight with the Left. We are the People’s Party, the Partido Popular, the Volkspartei, we should not be afraid of leftist criticism calling us populists. We know, we are not. The EPP should be the advocate and flagship of a Europe, where there is a room for our Christian identity, our national pride. There is a room for our traditional family values and our workfare societies,” Prime Minister Orbán said.

“If we want Europe to remain the greatest place in the world, then the European Union has to change. And in order to lead the way, we must start changing ourselves, the European People’s Party. I am sure today we have taken a step in the right direction,” the prime minister concluded. The future of Europe is at stake.

Read the full speech in English here.