Viktor Orbán explains what the October 2nd referendum was really about

October 18, 2016


“We Hungarians want to remain a European nation, and we do not want to be a nationality in Europe.”

The following is our translation of a post appearing on the website of the Hungarian government at 10:11 am on Monday, October 17th entitled “The new unity is wide and strong” (“Az új egység széles és erős”).

In the October 2nd referendum a new unity overwrote party political boundaries, and it is wide, varied, and strong because the people sense that Hungary’s independence is once again endangered—said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in parliament, opening the debate over the amendment to the Fundamental Law he submitted.

In his opening speech the head of government said: a new unity for Hungary came into being that is neither right- nor left-wing but simply Hungarian; the new unity’s pursuit is to “keep Hungary a Hungarian country.”  The new unity came into being, he continued, in order to express “the basic need originating in the soul of the people” according to which “without our consent and approval nobody should decide about with whom and how we wish to live.”

According to his words, the reason it is necessary to express the new unity with a modification to the constitution is because, beyond the migrant question, the referendum was really about our constitutional identity. “The constitutional identity question is one of the important, and perhaps the most important, questions in the future, and at the same time a summation of our arguments with Brussels,” the prime minister said.

Viktor Orbán said that Hungary’s independence is once again endangered because those who think that there is no longer a need for nations and that the world must be globally inclusive, and that borders should be done away with, have re-entered international action.  Those who “dream of the world, or at least Europe, melting onto one giant mass which removes national traditions, cultures, languages and laws.”

The new unity took the side of the Europe of nations

The head of government thinks that the new unity that came about in Hungary wants for the nations to remain in Europe, and that the 98 percent agreeing (with the government’s view) in the referendum confirmed this.

He emphasized that they insist that each nation decide its own fate, and would like to preserve Europe’s variegation.  By contrast, he said, the believers in a United States of Europe and a new European empire want to do away with the nations.  “They would give Brussels the key, and replace a responsible and democratic national decision making process with a faceless bureaucratic directorate.”

The constitutional amendment is about “our belief in a Europe of free nations and in the sovereignty of countries, and that we do not believe in an empire run by Brussels,” emphasized Viktor Orbán.

We believe in an alliance of European free nations

Everywhere in the 20th century, it was the national idea that stood in the way of experiments in imperial tyranny, he said, adding: “Hungary’s history proves with requisite fortitude that a nation can at any time sink back to being simply a nationality with the deterioration of the geopolitical situation.”  Quoting Lajos Kossuth he stressed: “We Hungarians want to remain a European nation, and we do not want to be a nationality in Europe.”

Viktor Orbán asked the parties to put aside partisan political points of view for a short while.  On October 2nd 3.3 million left-wing, liberal, Fidesz, Christian Democrats and Jobbik supporters stood up for Hungary as citizens.  “I recommend we follow their examples,” he said, asking support.  The prime minister indicated that he could not attend the latter parts of the discussion because he must travel to Bavaria for a 1956 commemoration.  After his opening speech Minister of Justice László Trócsányi will represent the government.