Hungary can remain successful if it follows the path of national sovereignty
The conference was opened by Gábor Fűrész, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Századvég, who said in his welcome speech that the history of Századvég dated back to the fall of communism, in which the representatives of the organisation at the time had also taken an active role. Many young people are looking for an alternative to progressive liberal ideology, and Századvég is proud to have brought up several generations who are doing much for the sovereignty of the nation by representing conservative values.
After the end of socialist governments in 2010, the country had an opportunity to rebuild its economy and identity. In the 2022 parliamentary elections, nearly 50% of participants declared themselves right-wing, and a stable right-wing community had also emerged by then. Gábor Fűrész stressed that Hungary could remain successful if it follows the path of national sovereignty.
After Gábor Fűrész’s welcome speech, Áron Hidvégi, Vice President of Századvég, presented the key findings of the 2023 Project Europe survey.
The survey of citizens in thirty European countries reveals the points of agreement among the European public on the war and the future of the European Union. Based on the results of the survey, Áron Hidvégi emphasised that Europeans believed that the war should end immediately, because, apart from China and the United States, all European countries, including the European Union, could only be its losers. The survey shows that no Member State of the European Union has a majority of those who support sending troops to Ukraine. In contrast to the European Commission’s ambitions, Europeans are of the opinion that peaceful economic cooperation should be the aim in the relations with China.
He underlined that Europeans supported the noble idea of the European Union, but the survey revealed highly critical voices about its administration in Brussels.
The story of the founding of Századvég is a story of heart and patriotism
The conference featured a speech by Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, who said that although Századvég had been born as an institute 30 years ago, its conception dated back much further, to the mid-1980s, when the Századvég journal had been launched, with his and others’ contribution. He added that the István Bibó College had been “a small island of freedom”, and that Századvég had been created because the ultimate goal had been not to have five free years at university, but to live a free life. The Századvég journal started from the idea that “free life begins with free speech, and free speech begins with free writing”.
In the words of Viktor Orbán,
“the story of the founding of Századvég was a story of heart and patriotism, and I would like it to remain so”.
The Prime Minister also said that the world around us did not have an interest in Hungary remaining a sovereign country. There would always be forces that would constantly lay siege to the defences of sovereignty, and Hungary could not be truly sovereign as long as “liberal hegemony dominates public thinking”. This did not mean that we should abolish what the opponents had, on the contrary, “we wish to see pluralism in Hungary”, the Prime Minister said.
According to Viktor Orbán, the Hungarian political system is closer to the classical democratic conception than the Western European system, which was long considered a model. Liberals do not care about people, their thinking is not based on the human community, but on an idea.
In conclusion, the Prime Minister stressed that in the fight for Hungary’s sovereignty, they would continue to count on Századvég’s support, especially that of young people. “We have achieved sovereignty, now it is up to the young to keep it”, he said.
Some issues no one can ever decide for Hungarians
After the Prime Minister’s speech, Judit Varga, Chair of the European Affairs Committee of the Parliament, said that sovereignty meant the demarcation of the boundaries between state and state, and state and international organisations, in terms of self-determination and freedom.
She drew attention to the fact that in some issues no one can ever decide for Hungarians, such as migration, marriage and family. Yet in Brussels they want to decide on these issues and even more serious ones (such as war and peace) for Hungarians.
According to Judit Varga, Hungary must fight for sovereignty every day, both within and outside its borders: it must fight against external pressure and influence, while asserting the country’s interests in the “international arena”. Meanwhile, within our borders, we have to fight back the attacks of the servants of foreign interests who are trying to undermine the self-determination of Hungarians with the help of “fake civil networks and rolling dollars”.
Judit Varga’s speech was followed by a round table discussion, whose participants were Máté Kocsis, Fidesz parliamentary group leader, Dr. Zoltán Lomnici Jr., constitutional lawyer and Gergely Losonci, Political Director of Századvég. Máté Kocsis said that the protection of national sovereignty was our constitutional obligation, so any debate must be taken up. According to the Fidesz parliamentary group leader, there is a fundamental misunderstanding between the concept of democracy in the West and that of the Hungarian government: “According to them, everything often changes; according to us, the will of the people must always prevail (…) In the West, it is considered undemocratic for people to elect the same government for the fourth time; they see stability as dictatorship and variability as democracy. The real problem for the West is that there is one country that can win elections on a national and sovereigntist basis.”, said Máté Kocsis.
The majority of European citizens are not confident in the economic development of the Community, while the Hungarian economy is on a stable footing
Afterwards, Kinga Kenyeres, CEO of Századvég Konjunktúrakutató, and Dr. Tibor Navracsics, Minister of Regional Development, talked about the future of the European Union. During their discussion, the minister stressed that Central Europe should not be left behind in the distribution of EU funds, and the system for distributing them should be modified to support disadvantaged regions. Kinga Kenyeres said that survey data collected by Századvég also confirmed that the majority of European citizens are not confident in the economic development of the community, nor in the better living standards of future generations. The CEO added that the perception of the Brussels administration was also becoming increasingly negative. The distribution of funds has become a sanctioning tool, but it does not contribute to coherent development, even though economic prosperity was one of the main reasons for creating the European Union.
After the discussion, Márton Nagy, Minister of Economic Development, spoke about the strengths of the Hungarian economy. He said that the past ten years had been fortunate, the world had been peaceful, the world economy had prospered, and Hungary had also done its share. The country has been able to build a healthy economy, which is the basis for successful economic policy in the current crisis-ridden period. Márton Nagy listed ten factors that he believes make the Hungarian economy strong: political stability, a family-based society, a work-based society, a high investment rate, together with a stable and diversified inflow of foreign direct investments (FDI), strong exports, a complex export structure, a well-developed road network, self-financing and an innovative financial system. The minister said that the foundations were in place for further growth of the Hungarian economy.
“Livelihood fears in the European Union continue to be dominant, brought about by the sanctions policy”
said Dr. Oliver Hortay at the conference.
Regarding the Project Europe survey, the head of Századvég’s Energy and Climate Policy Business Unit explained that today one in five respondents in the EU faced heating difficulties that were previously unimaginable. The survey results show that the economic consequences of the war have depressed European citizens’ sense of prosperity to a greater extent than previous crises such as the migration crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. He said that there was a strong debate on the financing of Ukraine, and that the European Commission was currently in the process of amending the EU budget to provide Ukraine with a EUR 50 billion package of assistance. However, the energy aspects of the survey show that the growing acceptance of nuclear power and natural gas in the EU is a positive development.
The last speaker of the conference was Tamás Deutsch MEP. He said that several serious phenomena are taking place in the daily life of the Union, which “pose a lurking threat” to the sovereignty of Member States. According to Tamás Deutsch, what used to be described as a stealthy takeover of powers by Brussels has now become open, politically motivated, ideologically based and power-based. The best proof of this is that the European Parliament’s own-initiative reports no longer even mention in their preambles whether they concern EU or national competences. Tamás Deutsch also drew attention to funding cuts, stressing that half of the funds that become the EU budget from European taxpayers’ money are direct Brussels funding packages, 86-92% of which do not go to emerging countries. In this context, he noted that Hungarian opposition MEPs have voted for practically everything in recent years that is disadvantageous for Hungary.Tamás Deutsch said that sovereignty protection legislation is needed, and added
“We have something to fight for: the defence of our national sovereignty, which we have won, achieved and regained”.