Prime minister Viktor Orbán – Photo: PMO

Book on Orbán's philosophy presented

Orbán: Liberal democracy has become ‘liberal non-democracy’

The concept of liberal democracy has ceased to exist and has become "liberal non-democracy", Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview to conservative Slovak news portal late on Wednesday. In the interview, the prime minister discussed issues such as the future of the European Union and central Europe, migration and Covid-19 vaccines.

Asked about the “building of an illiberal country”, Orbán said that the concept of liberal democracy had ceased to exist and had been replaced by “liberal non-democracy”. This form of governance, he said, “includes liberalism, but doesn’t include democracy”. Liberals, he said, strived for a hegemony of opinion, which they aimed to achieve through the use of political correctness by “stigmatising conservatives and Christian Democrats and sidelining them”.

“I’m fighting liberals for freedom,” Orbán said. “Whereas I’m on the side of freedom, they’re on the side of the hegemony of opinion.”

Concerning his ruling Fidesz party’s recent departure from the European People’s Party (EPP) and their future goals in European politics, Orbán said Fidesz wanted to “change Brussels”. In its current form, Brussels is not capable of addressing people’s problems, he said. Orbán said this had been proven by both the migration crisis and the 2008 financial crisis.

“We wanted to change Brussels together with the EPP, but they weren’t prepared to do it,” Orbán said. “Now we have to establish a new political community that can influence Brussels.”

As regards the differences between Hungary and Germany’s positions on migration, the prime minister said Germany believed that when native Germans who “are beginning to leave Christian values behind” begin “mixing with … Muslim migrants”, they would create a new society. He said he disagreed with this view, arguing that migration would lead to the emergence of parallel societies and the problems that came with it. “I don’t wish this on my own country,” he said.

Responding to a question in connection with EU institutions, Orbán said “there are components in the European Union that would need to be strengthened”, adding that the opposite was true as regards the European Parliament. The EP, he said, “is playing a particularly harmful role to the extent that it uses parties as the basis of European politics”, and, Orbán added, the European left “is using it [the EP] to attack the sovereignty of nation states”.

“So the question is not whether to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the EU, but rather what kind of EU it is we want,” he said.

Asked about the EU’s future, Orbán said it was certain that no unified European people would be formed on the continent by 2030. “There will still be Hungarians, Slovaks, Germans and French living here, as there will also be nations and states that will be cooperating, the form of which they will certainly figure out,” he said. “But it is, however, a question whether the post-Christian and post-national societies will be able to build a stable western Europe.” On this note, the prime minister said he was “more firmly convinced about the future of central Europe”.

“I strongly believe that our children will live much better than us,” he said. “And we are going to live a great central European renaissance in terms of the economy, demography, security policy and culture.”

In the interview Orbán also discussed the EU’s policy towards Russia, calling it simple to the effect that it is defined around “saying ‘yes’ or ‘no'”. “But we in this regard need to pursue a policy that is more subtle; one that understands that Russia is a very powerful state, a state that also respects power,” Orbán said.

Asked about Hungary’s policy on Covid-19 vaccines, Orbán said it had been clear as early as last spring that demand for the jabs would exceed supply. Since Hungary has good relations with both Russia and China, the government had enquired ahead of time as to whether they would be able to supply vaccines to Hungary. The Russian and Chinese vaccines in use in Hungary today had to be approved by the Hungarian authorities, he noted. Orbán added that Hungary is helping Slovakia with the assessment of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

Book on Orbán’s philosophy presented

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán understands the importance of a clear direction for governing, Istvan Stumpf, the government commissioner in charge of the reform of Hungary’s higher education system and a former constitutional court judge, said at an online presentation of a book looking back on Orbán’s last ten years in office on Wednesday.

Written by political scientist Gabor G. Fodor and published by the Public Foundation for Research on Central and Eastern European History and Society, the book, entitled “The Orbán Rule”, provides insight into the prime minister’s philosophy, Stumpf said.

Though there have been many books published on the prime minister, “this one is special because it was written by an actual member of the Orbán team,” he added.

Tamas Deutsch, the head of the Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance’s European Parliamentary delegation, said in a video message that the book would give readers a better understanding of Hungary’s past 30 years and of the importance of the past decade.

Orbán is a defining politician of his era, and even “those who aren’t fans of him” acknowledge his accomplishments, Deutsch said.

Addressing a panel discussion, author G. Fodor lauded Orbán’s courage to establish “a model of his own”. The right wing led by Orbán governs by using Hungary’s strengths to its advantage, he said.

Maria Schmidt, a historian who heads the 21st Century Institute, said it spoke to Orbán’s courage that he had recognised that the Western civilisation “which we wanted to catch up with” before Hungary’s change of regime “no longer works, and there’s nothing to copy from it anymore”.

Leave a Reply