Victor Orban’s naked truth


Jolanta Łaszczyk

WSWO 22/01/2012

[Translation by – Agata Czarniak]


Jan Pospieszalski, a Polish reporter, has been rebellious again. Only recently was he thrown out of the public television and defended by numerous protests of his viewers, so he could go to Victor Orban - one of the most brutally attacked by Brussels politicians – to conduct an interview with him. He had decided to so as his Polish compatriots have little chance of finding out the truth about Hungarian leader - it is hardly possible due to the European narration concerning the situation in Hungary. But why exactly did Orban get into the European officials’ black books?



Prime Minister Victor Orban firmly defends legal changes made by his cabinet, and his stance is supported by the majority of Hungarian people. The European Commission and the European Parliament have ignited a simplified procedure to investigate into alleged breaching of the European law – on fields of Hungarian National Bank independence or personal data protection. According to Orban, he had been attacked as not only did he mess with huge businesses, but also meddled in the politics which was standing behind them.


Jan Pospieszalski – What is this all really about? Because it looks like you were a fractious child punished by the ‘master’, or at least this is how Brussels treats you. Or maybe the student surpassed his master?


PM Victor Orban – I’d like to be fair-minded but I think that the ‘old democracies’ are convinced that they can preach and admonish countries which were previously under the Soviet occupation whenever they want, and that they know better what the democracy really is - better than Hungarians, Poles and other nations from Central-Eastern Europe. But I can assure you that we do know what the democracy is. For us it is as important as a breath of fresh air for one good reason – we hadn’t had it for a very long time. But the old democracies seem not to notice of how paramount importance this issue is for us. Obviously, there are some exceptions and some politicians who do understand our viewpoint, but unfortunately the lack of consideration is much more common.


I have suggested, in response to the European Commission’s attacks, discussing the contention regarding alleged breaching the European law on fields of Hungarian National Bank independence, personal data protection in judiciary system or the Monetary Policy Council. Legal issues not only have to, but also need to be resolved and I can assure you that evading them is not my intention. But I cannot agree with the opinion that there is no democracy in my country. We simply cannot see eye to eye on this. And there’s the rub –the European Commission cannot accept the idea that the EU officials would have to swear on the Hungarian Constitution.


Jan Pospieszalski - But in this case we are talking about the Hungarian National Bank and the Hungarian Constitution. What is a problem then?


PM Victor Orban - Yes, and to be more precise, it is about Hungarian institutions which have been functioning for the last 20 years since the fall of the Soviet regime and no one has ever questioned swearing on the Hungarian Constitution. The majority of Hungarians know that this is about something else – we simply wanted to change our country, too fast and too quickly, by passing 365 bills, including new constitution [which hadn’t been changed after Soviet ruling – FSFI] and 10 constitutional bills. At that time we were leading the EU presidency and this quick pace which I have mentioned, caused hysteria, as the changes in our country interfered with the ideological and economic businesses of the international left.


Jan Pospieszalski - Your Constitution refers to the rights of the nation and family, to the old European order and its values. It says that marriage is between man and woman only, that human’s life is protected from conception, and in the preamble we can read ‘God Bless, Hungary’. And let’s not forget that the name of the state has also been changed – from the ‘Republic of Hungary’ to ‘Hungary’.


PM Victor Orban - In my opinion there are two reasons for attacking us. The first one is moral – it is about values without Christianity. And the other one is strictly economic due to the ‘messing up with’ businesses of big, European corporations. We should act on behalf of our nation, for when it comes to the Christian values it’s obvious that our country wouldn’t last without them. And Poles are perfectly aware of that, probably even better than anyone else. Our views and beliefs coincide with the ones of Poles, Germans or French, so we are not alone in this matter. Our Constitution says that respect towards the nation and the state is a value. A family is a value too; therefore we cannot give the homosexual couples the right to the children adoption. And these are European views respected in many European countries and nobody can say that this is some Hungarian peculiarity. The only difference is that we put those values in our Constitution and it was preceded by wide public debate. We sent 8 million letters to our citizens and 80% of them supported the idea of introducing the new Constitution.


And the other reason for attacking our Constitution is the rage of huge, international, economic corporations and western banks. When I came to power the country was in a terrible state with 10 million indebted in foreign currencies Hungarians, and the previous government hadn’t done a single thing to resolve the situation. People had to pay back sums which were several times higher than the ones they had borrowed – Swiss Franc was very cheap when they took out loans and freezing the exchange rate of Forint saved millions of people from bankruptcy. Such actions are PM’s obligations. Unfortunately, I cannot refer this to the Polish situation, as I know very little of what would be possible in your country and what wouldn’t be. But I do know that my actions are supported by 2/3 of Hungarians and this gives me the right to act for the good of my nation. This is also why our Constitution is not egoistic but people-friendly and social and it supports the balance between public and social good.


In the past 20 years a very dangerous thought has spread across the world – that people will be happy as long as the free market decides on every single aspect of their lives. I strongly disagree with this and it is supported by the scale of current crisis. Economic crisis, which affected mainly banks, is a sum of moral crises of the West. I am convinced that the societies can function in an utterly different way – jointly, with a feeling of belonging to one community, on common grounds. And by the way, on these grounds our Constitution has been created.


When I was given the support of 2/3 of Hungarians, I launched this ‘battle’ with banks in the way of negotiations, and the reached compromise led to covering the loss by banks in 2/3 % and by government in 1/3 %; even though the losses of Hungarian state were much heavier.  And although the compromise was reached, the representatives of those banks still have been crying aloud that the situation in Hungary is terrible, and to be honest I cannot even blame them for that. But my job is to protect the interest of my nation, even at the expense of the hate campaign and of losing the trust of national banks, especially the Austrian ones.


When I came to power 3 800 000 people were employed, but only 2 600 000 of them were paying taxes. We had to take up huge structural reforms, but this takes both time and understanding.


Apart from banks, we imposed taxes on foreign companies on three years period (so called ‘crisis taxes’) and also on big Hungarian enterprises. In most cases, they are one, big, external asset – retail (especially supermarkets), telecommunications, and energy sectors. And let’s not forget that from 2013 they won’t have to pay this tax anymore. These are the costs of fighting against the crisis, let alone at stake was security and stability of my country. I had to take up these actions. These corporations, which do their business in Hungary, didn’t want to participate in recuperating the economy, and they simply complained about me to Brussels and they sparked off this media attack.


[In Strasburg Polish Euro-MP Jacek Kurski called the hate campaign aimed at Hungarian government ‘a brutal attack of the financial capital’ and PM Orban found this expression very shrewd and true]


I just want my country to develop, so as you see I cannot be bothered with accusing me of introducing labour camps for those who are unwilling to take up any job. We give them job not infinite benefits. This is why public works have been introduced, as well as systems providing one million less educated workers with jobs. This is a system of fighting against the unemployment, not a labour camp. We’ve offered students 2% loans so they could study in peace and quiet; we’ve given tax relief to the families with many children. This year a programme ‘Job Start’ has been released and is aimed at helping people come back to work after having been made redundant.


Jan Pospieszalski – So that means that you keep in mind Margaret Thatcher’s warnings when during one meeting in London she was talking about caution towards the International Monetary Fund?


PM Victor Orban – The reforms, that we have introduced, significantly helped us to deal with our own issues, but of course it doesn’t mean that we do not talk to the IMF anymore. We need the financial security so we were able to (if needed) make an agreement or take out a loan.


Despite the media attack, many politicians support Hungary; the ordinary citizens support us as well. In Poland the opposition and regular Poles stand by us and I would like to thank you for these actions. The Polish Prime Minister also officially used the expression ‘media hysteria’ against Hungary, and he offered us political help if requiered.


Jan Pospieszalski – Are you going to turn to Donald Tusk for help if the occasion arises?


PM Victor Orban – If there is such necessity we certainly turn to Poles as to friends. May God bless every Polish citizen.