July 10, 2013

Prime Minister Orbán’s opening speech in the European Parliament

2 July 2013

Tavares report called unjust in a European Parliament debate in Strasbourg.

Esteemed Mr. President,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, permit me to convey the greetings of the Hungarian people to the Representatives of the European Parliament. I would like to seize this opportunity to express my appreciation to the President of the European Commission and to thank the Commission for the open and fruitful dialogue, which has so far helped us resolve contested issues.

I have no illusions about the outcome of the vote scheduled for tomorrow. I know that Socialist, Liberal and Green MEPs will vote against Hungary and I also know that the friends of Hungary will stand beside Hungary. I know that my words will not change this fact; despite this I came here today to pay and to express my respect to the European Parliament and to its elected representatives. By paying respect to you, I wish to express the friendship that Hungarians – your voters – feel for European citizens. Regardless of your decision, the Hungarians think on European people with respect and friendship.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

The response drafted by the Hungarian Government to the seriously insulting report about Hungary is now being presented to the President of the Parliament in a memorandum. This report is gravely unfair towards Hungary and the Hungarian people. It openly applies double standards, it does not recognise, belittles and degrades the huge effort, with which the Hungarians have renewed their country. And the Hungarians did make a huge effort and worked extremely hard to come out of the state of bankruptcy we were in at the beginning of the financial crisis. We have come a long way; the Hungarian economy was the first to collapse even before Greece did. It was only the financial life support system of the IMF and the European Union that kept Hungary alive.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are only two countries so far, which have managed to come out of the assistance program. One of them is Hungary, which by today is fully financing itself from the financial markets. I can tell you that we are the kind of people, who do not wish to live off the money of other taxpayers. We are a country that stands on its feet and operates its economy itself. We have reduced sovereign debt year on year. The excessive deficit procedure against Hungary has just been lifted. The foreign trade balance and the balance of payments are strongly positive, the economy is growing, unemployment is on the decline, the number of those employed is increasing, the purchasing power of wages and pensions is increasing and therefore we Hungarians have every reason to feel that we have done our own homework.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Members

The report submitted constitutes a serious danger for Europe. Not for Hungary, because Hungary has already had to work in headwinds created by the European Parliament. Your decision scheduled for tomorrow constitutes a real danger for the future of Europe. The proposal set forth in the report is in serious breach of the Founding Treaties. It aims to create a unique institution, which the Treaties do not even recognise, and which would bring one of the Member States of the European Union under control and guardianship. It disregards the competences of the European Parliament, the sharing of tasks between the different European Union institutions, as well as the legal balance that prevails between the Member States and the European Union. It arbitrarily defines mandatory criteria, introduces new procedures and creates new institutions contradictory to the Founding Treaties.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a dangerous direction! I have experienced the fate of Central Europe. I know what it feels like to not be in control of your destiny, because decisions about our lives are made in some faraway land. I have experienced what it feels like to be a second-class citizen. I have experienced what it is like when double standards are applied against us from above. We have suffered; we have suffered for decades that the big and mighty abuse their power. Yes, we Central Europeans know only too well what it is like when the independence and freedom of our nation is not respected. I also joined the anti-communist dissidents, those fighting for freedom, to put an end to all this so that we never have to experience such things again, and so I have come here today to express that based on these experiences, we Hungarians have no desire for a Europe in which successful countries are punished instead of being recognised! We do not want a Europe in which a unity manifested in a two-thirds majority is denounced instead of being respected! We do not want a Europe in which we are placed under guardianship, in wich our freedom is restricted and not allowed to expand. We do not want a Europe in which the stronger abuse their strength and the majority abuses its power. We do not want a Europe in which double standards are applied and in which only the small must respect the large!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Accordingly, we will fight against everyone who applies double standards against us, everyone who abuses their power and wishes to treat us as if we were second class citizens. We will fight all those who want to create an empire out of our Union! We are among those – many millions in Europe – who want a Europe of free nations and not a Europe of subordination. Long live the European Union of free nations!

Thank you for your attention.

Prime Minister’s Office