Brussels is creating a European superstate instead of a Europe of nation states, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Saturday, insisting that “national democrats” opposed the makers of empires, who were in turn “opponents of democracy”.
Addressing a conference marking Hungarian Independence Day, Orbán said Europe as a “cultural formation” was “fabulous” and “cannot be copied”. Places attempting to make European culture their own had fallen short, he said. Europe “is eternal”, he added.
But the European Union, Orbán said, was a political body created by countries defending their economic and military interests after the second world war when the US and Soviet Union vied with each other on the continent.
“The EU was created to ensure that Europeans once again decided Europe’s fate,” he said. Today, however, Europe was not actively improving or transforming itself, Orbán said. “It is we who must improve and transform it, and lead it back to its former successful path.”
Orbán said the EU’s economic power was declining, noting that its share of the world’s GDP had shrunk from 25 percent in 2008 to 18 percent in 2019, while its share of industrial output had declined from 22 percent to 15. None of the world’s ten largest financial centres are located within the EU, while he EU filed seven times as many patent applications as China 30 years ago; today China has fourteen times as many as the EU, he said. The prime minister said that whereas the US had increased its military spending by more than 30 percent in the past 30 years, and China ninefold, the EU spending had remained stagnant.
Orbán said “today is the day of Hungarian freedom, thirty years since we won the Cold War.” Soviets, he added, no longer had the strength or means to unit the socialist camp. Freedom, he said, didn’t just come about but was won, and communism didn’t just die but was overthrown.
“Today we’re the same as we’ve always been: Europe’s last freedom fighters. The history of Europe did not simply change; we changed it.” Orbán insisted that Europe was in need of “freedom fighters of our own kind”.
Citing Vaclav Klaus, he said the individual, the family and the nation were “under attack” on all fronts, endangering Europe’s future. Meanwhile, one European vice-president had branded Hungary — which he said was fighting for the essence of what made Europe a democracy — as “a sick democracy”, he said.
Brussels, he added, was busy “fighting with itself and the member states, lecturing and threatening them, exerting pressure and imposing fines”. He called this “a self-destructive abuse of power”.
On another note, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has also sent greetings to former President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus on the occasion of his 80th birthday, declaring that “another war of independence” was under way in Europe “after 32 long years”.
“This time we’re fighting to protect our Christian-conservative traditions, sovereign nation states and central European identity,” Orbán said in the greeting.
Klaus, he said, had guided his country towards a market economy and had a major role in turning central Europe into the continent’s “economic motor”.
“I’m delighted to have welcomed you to Budapest twice … [and to have] further deepened our friendship,” he said in the letter forwarded to MTI by the PM’s press chief on Saturday.
Orbán called Klaus a “good personal friend” and “a good friend of the whole Hungarian nation”.