“The governing party’s own voters see that Antal Rogán, his friends and acquaintances are mechanisms for the corruption that is ruining Hungary. We are convinced that Fidesz will have to start bending to this pressure. We would like to see legal guarantees for this in Fundamental Law because it has been proven time and again that money is more important for Viktor Orbán than the interests of the country.” – János Volner, deputy chairman, Jobbik
Jobbik will not stop its calls for the government to scrap the residency bond program, says Jobbik parliamentary group leader János Volner. If KDNP [Christian Democratic People’s Party] MP György Rubovszky, chair of the National Assembly’s justice committee, shoots down Jobbik’s proposal for a constitutional modification, Volner promises his party will continue to submit the proposal until parliament adopts it.
Magyar Nemzet: There were some big changes in Jobbik’s parliamentary group. This past autumn was the first such period in which Előd Novák did not sit with the group. What was the work like without him?
János Volner: Everything went pretty much the same as before. We had to decide who would take over Előd’s position as the head of the party’s media cabinet. Seeing as how his wife, Dóra Dúró, expressed interest in the field, and because of her husband’s professional support, the post went to her.
MN: Előd Novák did an extraordinary job when he yelled during parliamentary sessions. Surely, the group felt the lack of his presence.
JV: There are a number of Fidesz politicians who do a lot more yelling than Előd Novák. What’s more, the words that come out of the mouths of these governing party representatives are often much harsher and insulting. Előd’s yelling was not insulting, it was well-pointed and humorous.
MN: The final weeks of parliament’s last session were all about the debate surrounding the modification of the Fundamental Law. Doesn’t Jobbik regret not supporting it? To use the party’s terminology, does the party not regret stopping the “poor migrants” from entering the country?
JV: I do not think this issue is finished. The most that could be done to keep the poor migrants out was to build a physical barrier in the fence, and the protection can be increased if Jobbik’s proposal to reinstate the border patrol is adopted.
MN: But we are talking about certain Brussels plans for a quota.
JV: We spoke to our international lawyers and they took the position of the German Federal Constitutional Court, that a country’s own constitution offers a higher legal order than secondary European Union legal requirements. Therefore, migrants cannot be resettled in Hungary.
MN: So you agree with the government that there is protection without having to modify the constitution? Why is it then that Jobbik is trying to impose the modification on Fidesz?
JV: The Fundamental Law already provides us with a way to reject the resettlement, but we think it is important to put it in writing for the purposes of making it clear that people of foreign nationalities cannot be settled in Hungary. This would further strengthen the current system.
MN: Jobbik’s proposal, which would also do away with the residency bond program, is now before the justice committee. What happens if the Fidesz-majority committee does not sign off on the proposal?
JV: This has happened in the past. But if it happens again, we’ll just keep resubmitting the proposal until they approve it. There is a lot of pressure on the government to do away with the residency bond program. Public opinion polls show that only 9 percent of Fidesz supporters approve of this business. The governing party’s own voters see that [Minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office] Antal Rogán, his friends and acquaintances are mechanisms for the corruption that is ruining Hungary. We are convinced that Fidesz will have to start bending to this pressure. We would like to see legal guarantees for this in Fundamental Law because it has been proven time and again that money is more important for [Prime Minister] Viktor Orbán than the interests of the country.
MN: Minister of the National Economy Mihály Varga recently made it sound as though the residency bond program would end, but not entirely. Doesn’t Jobbik think it naive to expect that it would end completely?
JV: It is a huge accomplishment that the government has already backed off somewhat from this issue. Mihály Varga may have said one thing, but other Fidesz politicians have said something else. [Leader of the Fidesz parliamentary group] Lajos Kósa, for example, has said the exact opposite.
MN: What would you say is an accomplishment that Jobbik achieved during the course of the autumn session?
JV: It has become clear that [Jobbik chairman] Gábor Vona will be Viktor Orbán’s challenger and that Jobbik will be the party of change in 2018. Today, [Hungarian Socialist Party] MSZP and the left wing are lost in insignificant squabbling. There is absolutely no merit to anything they say. The entire country sees Jobbik as the real party of change.
MN: Public opinion polls show something else. Fidesz is stable and in the lead.
JV: What the polls show is that support for Jobbik has stagnated, but it is also clear that when it comes down to the votes, many people who oppose the government’s policies will pop up as Jobbik supporters. Even people on the left will vote for Jobbik, those who do not even sympathize with us, simply because there is an enormous need for change of government. I am convinced the need for this will only grow through 2018.
MN: What will Jobbik focus on during the spring session?
JV: We will focus on raising wages. Gábor Vona has announced he would launch a European referendum on this. Our goal is to gather one million signatures from seven EU Member States, and we will be able to reach what Viktor Orbán has not: to raise the wages of workers. The prime minister has never, not at a single international forum or at the signing of a strategic agreement, committed to raising the wages of Hungarians. The effects of the government’s policies has been to create a cheap and vulnerable labor force. Hungarians are worse off. More and more young people are leaving the country.