Orbán argued for preserving the framework of the free-market system and democratic legal and political institutions while changing the existing social structures: "In other words, yes to democracy, no to liberalism." He said the country is on a promising path but dangers to its continued development come not from domestic sources but are external.

Outlining Hungary's post-communist past, Orbán said that between 1989 and 1991 the task of the transition generation had been to secure the country's freedom and independence. The following four years had been about building a capitalist market economy and a democratic legal and political system.

Between 1994 and 2010, "the successors to the socialist system and their internationalist helpers" reigned and had then to be defeated. A new community-based national system was then introduced and built, while Fidesz won the two-thirds majority in parliament needed to achieve this, Orbán added. His political generation would now be "prime time" for the next 15 years and the most important tasks lay ahead.

Hungary's government has succeeded in regaining the country's sovereignty and protecting its borders against migration, Orbán said. The International Monetary Fund "went home … Our generation has been given a historic opportunity to strengthen the Hungarian nation. This has been an unfairly hard struggle up until now and will remain an unfairly hard one going forward."

Orbán said that thanks to complicated manoeuvres, US billionaire "George Soros's man has been prevented from taking over the European Commission and placing his ideological guerrillas in important European positions". The Commission should act as the guardian of the European treaties. "Political activism must be stopped. It's not a political body ... its job isn't to organise political attacks against member states. It sets the direction and the strategic decisions are made by the European Council of elected prime ministers."

Orbán insisted that "errors made in the EU over the last five years" must be corrected, especially concerning migration and the economy. The Commission should no longer preoccupy itself with migration, and a council of interior ministers of Schengen area member states should take over all responsibilities related to migration.

He called for European socialism to be stopped in its tracks and for a competitive European economy to be restored. "We must support successful economies and reject the idea of raising unemployment benefits at European level." Instead, jobs must be created and taxes reduced everywhere, and red tape must be cut and investments encouraged in place of austerity policies.

The prime minister said that if the government's assessment of the European economic outlook turned out to be the case next spring, it would be necessary to draw up a second economic protection plan by then, and possibly a third one in autumn 2020. The action plans would have to be geared towards improving the country's competitiveness, with western European economies not developing well enough to support Hungary's desired growth trajectory. He said Hungary must rethink its plans for 2020-2021 in order to minimise external risks and mobilise internal resources.

Orbán said his political inheritance from the period before 2010 was an apt illustration of the problems associated with liberalism. Less than half of the country's active population had been contributing to economic output. Fully 3.6 million people had had jobs and 1.8 million people had been paying taxes, he said, characterising this as "a form of long and uncomfortable suicide".

"Now, 4.5 million people are in work today and all of them pay taxes." Further, the debt situation had been "hopeless" and cultural identity waning. The sense of belonging to a nation had been slipping away and Hungarian communities living beyond the border had struggled to withstand pressure to assimilate. Moreover, the means to protect sovereignty -- the police and army -- had been degraded, he added.

In 2010, solving these inherited problems within a framework of liberal democracy had looked impossible and so something else had to be done. "We had to rethink and put the relationship between the individual and society on a new footing."

Orbán said the liberal system consisted of a cluster of individuals competing against one another without the existence of a nation. "At best, there's a political nation," he said. In contrast to this, the "illiberal or national point of view" sees the nation as "a historically and culturally defined community whose members must be protected and made capable of fending for themselves in the world as a group".

This approach recognises individual performance that also serves the good of the community, he said. In an illiberal or national system, achievements such as self-care, work, self-sufficiency, paying taxes, starting a family and raising a child were not private matters but were a reflection of participating in the nation.

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Hungary has established itself as an "illiberal state" and reorganised into a "unique Christian democratic state". Orbán argued against the assumption that "all democracies are by nature liberal and Christian democracy must also be liberal". He said the idea of liberal democracy had only been viable for as long as it had "a positive effect on humanity" by safeguarding personal freedoms and private ownership.

"But once it started breaking the ties that bind man to reality and life, started questioning gender identity, devaluing religious identity and deemed national affiliation to be redundant, its contents radically changed. This is the zeitgeist of the past 20-30 years in Europe. According to the liberal concept of freedom, you can only be free if you are free from everything that makes you belong; from borders, from the past, from language, from religion and tradition."

Illiberal thinking maintained that the individual's adherence to freedom must trump the interests of the community, he added.

The point of illiberal politics was Christian freedom. "Policies geared towards Christian freedom are about working to protect everything that liberals neglect, forget about or despise. We are going to spend the next 15 years on the mission of our generation to confront the liberal spirit of the era and liberal internationalism."

Whereas the lay of the land may favour the liberals, "there is something on our side nonetheless that can be said to be beautiful, free and just; something that can be summed up as Christian freedom."

Orbán said liberals hated illiberals because they are driven by an imperialist mindset based on exclusivity. "They can't stand a little stubbornness." If it is shown that there is another form of community organisation, "this reveals the fiction of the doctrine of universal salvation … And it's intolerable if Hungary, Poland, Austria, Italy and the Czech Republic stick to their own views, and they must be hated because they stand against universal good of humanity."


Opposition savages speech

István Ujhelyi, an MEP for the Socialists, said Orbán's rhetoric could not mask that his family members and friends had "accumulated unprecedented wealth". Ujhelyi accused the prime minister of creating "a high-handed kleptocratic mafia state" over the past few years. Neither could he mask "the near collapse of Hungary's health-care system or the deliberate degrading of the education system," he said. "Orbán has declared war on the Europe that subscribes to social values ... while fully neglecting the everyday problems of working Hungarians."

The spokesman of the leftist Democratic Coalition (DK) berated Orbán's insistence that the world was either Christian or liberal. "Individual freedom, a nation's conservation and a strengthening Europe" were not mutually exclusive, Zsolt Gréczy said. "Liberal democracy means that I accept that anyone is free to decide about their own future, customs, feelings, belief and faith," and a liberal state governed by the rule of law strengthened the cohesion of nations. "It does not wish to weaken a common Europe of nations but to strengthen it."

The group leader of the nationalist Jobbik party said Orbán "has literally become a butcher of the nation, interested in nothing other than his own mad pursuit of power". He is ready to sacrifice Hungary to achieve that goal, Péter Jakab added. He accused Orbán of isolating Hungarians from the rest of Europe.

The green LMP party criticised Orbán for seeing the next 15 years in terms of his own destiny and political career instead of dealing with the future and destiny of the nation. LMP's co-leader accused him of ignoring the needs of Hungarians who live in deep poverty as well as people excluded from education and health-care. He said it is high time to focus on issues that are crucial to the nation's survival.


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