Hungarian Conservative

‘No mercy for paedophile crimes!’— PM Orbán Adressed the Nation for the 25th Time

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán delivers his State of the Nation adress at Várkert Bazaar on 17 February 2024.
Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI
On Saturday, 17 February, Viktor Orbán delivered his 25th State of the Nation address, which was centred around topics such as the scandal surrounding President Katalin Novák, the reinforcement of the child protection system, Hungary’s relationship with the European Union, and the forthcoming EU and US elections.

On Saturday, 17 February, Viktor Orbán delivered his 25th State of the Nation adress at the Várkert Bazaar. This year’s speech held particular significance for several reasons: besides commemorating its anniversary, it marked the Prime Minister’s first public appearance subsequent to the resignations of both President Katalin Novák, and former Justice Minister Judit Varga, in the aftermath of the clemency scandal.

In connection with the case, PM Orbán stated: ‘The child is inviolable, and abuse carries the most severe punishment. There is no room for mercy. Therefore, the resignation was the appropriate course of action, and it fortifies our resolve.’ He further remarked that Katalin Novák was a respected and highly esteemed President, who diligently served and ardently advocated for her country, the Hungarian people, and their families. ‘She represented Hungary with dignity on the global stage,’ he stressed.

Breaking: President Katalin Novák Resigns from Her Post

He also underscored that the rationale behind the head of state’s resignation stemmed from the grant of a presidential pardon to an individual convicted of covering up a crime against children, a decision that failed to garner acceptance and was rebuffed by the vast majority of Hungarians. Viktor Orbán emphasized that the stated grounds for resignation indicated that it was the head of state’s action which fractured national cohesion, a breach she deemed beyond her capacity to mend. He further stressed that even good people make bad decisions, and that this happens to the best of us.

Nevertheless, the Prime Minister reiterated his firm stance on the issue, stating:

‘It’s as simple as that: no mercy for paedophile crimes!’

He underlined that the Hungarian child protection system must be strengthened and that legislation for the protection of children, from the constitution to ministerial decrees, must be revised and amended.

Orbán asserted that ‘the plight of the victims necessitates us’ to bolster the management and oversight of our child protection institutions, along with the regulations and constraints concerning the personnel therein. He further proposed that these measures be presented to the Parliament in the form of a new child protection bill.

2024 Will Be a Year of Successes

Assessing the past year, PM Orbán remarked that Hungary had successfully ‘emerged unscathed’ from a period marked by significant challenges. He emphasized that the preservation of jobs, the foremost priority, had been achieved, noting that never before had so many people been employed in Hungary. According to him, the current employment rate stands at 75 per cent, and he expressed the ambition to reach 85 per cent, affirming their commitment to attaining this goal. The Prime Minister emphasized the particular significance of bringing down record-high inflation from 25 to 4 per cent.

PM Orbán dedicated a substantial portion of his State of the Nation speech to green energy and the green transition. He highlighted the significant benefits that the green transition holds for Hungary, emphasizing its potential to enhance the country’s livability and liberate it from the energy dependency that "has plagued it since the collapse of the monarchy." The Prime Minister underscored the crucial role of nuclear energy in meeting these targets and emphasized the successful performance of Hungary’s solar power development program.

The Prime Minister emphasized that, for the first time in a considerable period, Hungary is not merely following a technological revolution but leading a global one, while also safeguarding its car factories. Viktor Orbán highlighted several sectors where Hungary excels on a global scale, including the pharmaceutical industry, the food industry, info-communications, and the automotive industry. He added that Hungary’s green automotive transition represents a significant technological and political triumph in light of these accomplishments.

PM Orbán also addressed the relations between Hungary and the European Union.

He pledged that 2024 ‘will once again be a year of successes for Hungary’,

despite 2023 being characterized as a year of failures for the European Union, which ‘drags us down, holds us back, and burdens us with leaden feet’. He asserted that Brussels is only bringing trouble to Hungary, highlighting that its strategy in Ukraine has failed spectacularly, both on the battlefield and in international politics. PM Orbán stressed that Hungary stands alone in its pro-peace stance, just as it did in its anti-migration stance, and reiterated its conviction in being on the right side of the conflict.

‘Europe must reclaim Brussels!’

Viktor Orbán affirmed that Hungary’s stance remains steadfast: ‘We will not allow ourselves to be drawn into war,’ he said, noting that Hungary will refrain from supplying weapons, regardless of the disapproval from major powers. He criticized Brussels’ crisis management approach, describing it as follows: ‘Everything for America, while the rest of us can shut up.’ Additionally, he remarked that the United States’ willingness to finance support for Ukraine was waning, with Europe increasingly bearing the burden, despite its already weakened economy. Consequently, the Prime Minister firmly believes that joint borrowing by EU member states is no longer a viable option for Hungary and expressed his intention to seek support from the governing party’s parliamentary group on this matter.

The Prime Minister recalled that recently, US pressure has escalated to a new level, referencing the visit of US Ambassador David Pressman to the extraordinary session of the National Assembly. This was convened to discuss Swedish membership in NATO, initiated by the opposition.

‘Sooner or later, people everywhere will realize that everyone benefits from leaving us alone,’

he emphasized.

Regarding the latter matter, however, he expressed positivity that the dispute with Sweden was approaching resolution. He highlighted that significant strides had been made with the Swedish Prime Minister to restore trust, aiming for the Parliament to ratify Sweden’s accession to NATO at the beginning of the spring session.

On the protests by European farmers, PM Orbán remarked that Brussels has abandoned Europeans. He stressed that there has never been such a wide discontent between Brussels' policies and the interests and desires of the European populace. According to him, Brussels requires reform. He noted that this change will not occur spontaneously but must be enforced: ‘Europe must reclaim Brussels!’

The Prime Minister highlighted that the new agricultural regulations and the opening of markets to Ukraine have placed European agriculture in an untenable position. He underscored that protesting farmers across Europe simply desire binding legislation that is not drafted by ‘climate fanatics and eccentric scientists roaming the corridors of Brussels.’

Orbán also strongly criticized Brussels’ migration policy. He remarked that ‘they themselves enticed the migrants, sitting under the blazing sun in Brussels and Berlin with cotton candy, and then expressed surprise when the wasps attacked them.’ He pondered whether, in 20 years’ time, someone visiting the West would still find Europe intact or something entirely different.

Pivotal Year Ahead

The Prime Minister emphasized that 2024 could mark a turning point, labelling it a ‘super election year’ where individuals in Brussels, the United States, India, and various other places will determine the type of leadership they prefer. He highlighted the significance of this year for Hungary, stating that the elections will present great opportunities for the country.

While acknowledging that Hungary cannot interfere in other countries’ elections, he expressed a strong desire to see President Donald Trump return to the presidency and foster peace in Eastern Europe. He reinforced that it is time for a ‘Make America Great Again’ presidency in the United States.

‘Resurgent greatness in America and Europe. Connectivity, bolstering Slovak, Austrian, Serbian, and Hungarian regional cooperation, and a sovereigntist shift in Brussels. This is what we wish for under the Christmas tree at the end of the year,’ said the Prime Minister.

He also noted that the Brussels bureaucrats will not lead Europe out of the crisis, suggesting that it’s not worth expending energy on convincing them, stating, ‘we will not shoe a dead horse.’ He believes that

only a new European right, of which Hungary is a part, can bring about real change.

However, he cautioned that in order to avoid ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater,’ the ‘new right must not be an alternative to Europe, but rather a European alternative.’ ‘This is the perspective to adopt for the upcoming European elections. That is the path, and that is why it is worth striving for victory,’ he concluded.

The Prime Minister concluded his speech in his traditional fashion: ‘Hungary above all, God above us all. Go Hungary! Go Hungarians!’

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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to Deliver 25th State of the Nation Address
A Pivotal Year in Politics: High Stakes and Critical Shifts Await in 2024
On Saturday, 17 February, Viktor Orbán delivered his 25th State of the Nation address, which was centred around topics such as the scandal surrounding President Katalin Novák, the reinforcement of the child protection system, Hungary’s relationship with the European Union, and the forthcoming EU and US elections.