Talking at the Krynica Economic Forum, Gyöngyösi reveals Jobbik's vote on Sargentini report

Jobbik’s executive vice president Márton Gyöngyösi participated in the Economic Forum held in Krynica, Poland on September 6, where the business and political representatives of the Eastern European region were joined by participants coming from Western Europe and many other parts of the world as well. At the multiple-day conference, the second man of Hungary’s largest opposition party talked at a discussion panel and explained his views on the future of the EU and the European continent as well as how they are affected by Europe’s search for identity and Robert Schuman’s Christian based philosophy. Talking to Alfahir about the Sargentini report, which threatens Hungary with serious sanctions, the opposition MP revealed something we had never heard anywhere else before.

Participating in the discussion panel titled “Schuman’s Europe as Community of Nations” Mr Gyöngyösi was joined by several Polish, French and Dutch Members of Parliament and the academic community as well as Zsolt Németh, the chairman of the Hungarian Parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

Addressing the issue of Europe’s potential future, Mr Gyöngyösi explained that the European civilization and the EU itself were facing two types of challenges: firstly, the significant social problems entailed by digitalization and globalization are often difficult to even define and secondly, Europe cannot find its place in the multipolar world developed by the 21st century through the rise of the United States, Russia, China and India.

Jobbik’s executive vice president says the bad news is that “even the largest European countries are too small to become a factor in world politics on their own” which is why the continent’s countries are bound to cooperate in one form or another.

The keyword: European identity

In his speech, Jobbik’s representative tried to outline how it could be done. He explained that the European political arena was characterized by the struggle of two large groups: one is that of the federalists eyeing a future United States of Europe (i.e., the followers of  Jean Monnet, often referred to as the “father of Europe”) and the promoters of a looser cooperation among strong national states (who are closer to Schuman’s ideas).

In Mr Gyöngyösi’s view, the dispute between the groups is quite pointless because both ideals are utopian and they are looking for the answer to the wrong question. He believes there is an indispensable element still missing from a truly efficient European cooperation: finding the common European identity (the debate of which has recently intensified and triggered an all-European discussion). He thinks we should realize that the 19th-century nation-state concept, which is so popular in the Eastern Central European region, is no longer valid: none of the states are completely independent and self-sufficient any longer.

As he put it, while Western European countries must face the problems of multiculturalism and consumerism, Eastern Central Europe is marred by demographic problems, poverty, massive emigration of talented youth and the economic dependence on Western capital. That is why we must strive for some compromise if we wish for a mutually beneficial cooperation, he said. He noted that finding a common enemy image (either in Islam or immigration) is not enough on its own to help develop a common European identity. Mr Gyöngyösi believes it makes the situation even more difficult that the European treaties of the past decades have only emphasized Europe’s cultural diversity, which, even if it’s true, is still not enough on its own to provide Europe with a sense of togetherness.

In his view, the only attempt our continent has made in terms of a common European identity was organizing the Eurovision Song Contest where, paradoxically enough, a bearded woman was raised to the pedestal. Mr Gyöngyösi explained that these acts were unsuitable for promoting our continent. What we need is a political discourse built on such universally recognized elements of the European heritage as Roman and Greek humanism, enlightened rationalism, the ethos of liberty and Christian morality: “I am convinced that the first step toward solving the current crisis is to define our common identity and to develop a system that is favourable for Christian solidarity, Schuman’s ideas and the Christian identity as well as Europe’s inherent diversity.”

In his opinion, this requires both definitions of Europe to become part of the solution, i.e., we need a federation at national state level where each country can make the decisions that best suit them while cooperating in such issues that pose a challenge both at the national and civilizational level.

European or Hungarian? Why not both?

Answering Alfahír's questions, Mr Gyöngyösi explained it was a wrong approach that certain groups of the Hungarian society consider themselves as either exclusively Hungarian or exclusively European. In his view, this is part of a dilemma, i.e., whether we want to belong to the West or the East, that has existed ever since the establishment of the Hungarian state, and it can easily be stirred up again to this day even though it’s a false contradiction. Jobbik’s executive vice president says identity should not be such an exclusive issue for a nation that should be equally proud of having migrated into Europe from the Asian steppe as well as having joined the European civilization by embracing Christianity.

“Similarly to that of other nations, Hungarian identity is complex, on which a country should indeed be able to build a strategy. At a time when East and West are facing off and there may even be an arising conflict between religions, it would be great if there was a country, with ties to both worlds, which could realize that there is a place and role for mediation, and that is a real value,” the opposition politician said.

Christian Europe was questioned by the past few decades

Mr Gyöngyösi also explained that the Christian Europe as an identity-forming element had always been a self-evident fact even for atheists for quite a while; it was only questioned by the Liberals of the past few decades. They either deny Europe’s Christian roots or try to ignore them, refusing to incorporate this idea into the discourse on Europe’s future, which is a very harmful attitude in Mr Gyöngyösi’s opinion. That’s why he believes it’s so important to present Christianity and Schuman’s idea as a very strong alternative against Liberal nihilism, and not to let these debates go astray the way it was done by the politicians of the 1968 generation.

“Sargentini committed an astoundingly huge crime"

Mr Gyöngyösi asserted that Jobbik was not going to vote in the European Parliament for the Sargentini report condemning Hungary. The reason for the party’s stance is that the report contains clearly false statements of fact and lies. “Sargentini committed an astoundingly huge crime because she totally diverts the attention and the focus from those acts of the Orbán government which are truly harmful and restrictive to democracy,” the opposition MP noted, adding that if the report had pointed out how the Fidesz government was violating jurisdiction, the freedom of the press and parliamentarism and how shockingly rampant corruption had become in Hungary, it would be difficult to challenge these statements.

“However, it would still raise the issue if Brussels can interfere with the domestic affairs of a sovereign country – in my opinion, it cannot,” Mr Gyöngyösi stated his position, explaining that the other reason why Jobbik could not support the report was that it criticized Hungary for the lack of migration allocation based on a central quota. When Alfahír asked if Jobbik was afraid that the party’s position might make voters consider Jobbik as Fidesz’ helper, Mr Gyöngyösi answered the really important issue was why a political force decided to vote in Parliament in a particular way. Obviously, Fidesz MEPs would give completely different reasons for their vote. However, Jobbik insists that reports on Hungary should also include the statement that Viktor Orbán’s government has already started a transition from a semi-dictatorial regime toward a totally authoritarian system.


Alfahí -