Kinga Gál: „The stakes of the European Parliamentary elections have never been this high”

2019. 02. 20.

An extraordinary interview with Kinga Gál MEP about the present of Europe and the stakes of the up-coming elections this May.

HJGY: The hungarian GDP and living standards are getting closer and closer to those of the Western states. Despite this, when one looks look at Europe today, what they can see is that the European Union in which Helmut Kohl invited Hungary is gone. Do you agree with this remark? Why is the Europe we longed for gone?

Kinga Gál: I agree with the remarks. What’s more I believe this is not only an interesting fact to face for us Hungarians, but the whole of Middle-Europe as well. This is one of the reasons the V4 cooperates so well, because we face the same situation. A process has started in Western-Europe, it is quite selfish and single minded, they need us when we bring profit. But as soon as we are strong enough and protect our own interests, they act surprised and would have us give them up. This is when they bring up the concept of multi-speed Europe and strengthen the Franco-German co-operation and so on. The signs are also clearly there in the European Parliament. These debates can get very ugly and decisions can be made later than they should be, good examples are the legislations about posting or mobility. And of course there is migration, where they suddenly single us out whether by questioning is we are in line with the Schengen Code or because we protect our borders. These are our battles and we need to fight them, and when they can’t attack us anymore, because our stance on migration, that is when they stir the debate towards rule of law. If you are not with the mainstream, they try to undermine you with inspections without any legal basis. The mainstream in Western-Europe today states that you need to build an open society, you need to take in immigrants and you need to settle tons of people in your country, so they can solve the problems of aging European societies. They ask us: why is it that you in Middle-Europe do not think like this? Why do you say that you don’t want to look like the Molenbeek district of Brussels? What do you mean you want to decide with who are you want to live together with? In Western-Europe there is enragement, because they face a justified resistance from Middle-Europe (with the leadership of Hungary) against settlement. We believe their road leads nowhere, we do not wish to participate in that. They in turn are unable to accept our refusal and keep bullying us. This is the reason for having three debates about Hungary in the European Parliament in only a year. They are furious, because we dare to say that we do not want this, we wish to decide with who to live together with and what are the values of Hungary we wish to keep.

HJGY: You mentioned the problem of aging european societies. A lot of peolpe seem to think, that migration as a kind of „refreshment” could be a remedy for this. This however is only a part of the broader question which we often ask: why are they pushing for migration so forcefully in Western-Europe? You can see a european levelled lobby for promoting migration. The avarage people often ask however: why? What is this good for? Because from their point of view forcing migration is just illogical. Then why are they keep following this path in Brussles?  

Kinga Gál: This is a complicated problem. On one hand you have an aging Europe, and unlike us most states do not wish to solve this demographical crisis with family policy. Despite a lot of even younger Europeans being unemployed, their decision-makers think that it is worth it to import cheap and unskilled labour. On the other hand we must not forget that the Western-European societies have been importing people for decades. Either because it was easy to import cheap labour from the former colonies or because they are trying to achieve the ideal open society model. They have done this in Belgium for example, they gave settlement rights for people from all around the world, from Morocco to Guinea. This kind of thinking made its way in the past few decades to the decision-making levels. They also made the mistake of setteling migrants in such critical numbers that they do not seek integration anymore, rather they wish to choose how they live, without any sign of integration. You can go to Molenbeek look around and think you are in North-Africa.

There are a lot of small signs adding together and in forming the public opinion there is an opinion dumping, which advocates that the more open and loose something is the more value it has. The media is especially keen on doing this. I can see on my colleagues in the EPP that they sometimes lose the courage of even fighting for their own voters, because they are afraid to oppose the expectations of the Western media. 

HJGY:Isn’t the reason for this is the lack of strong, charismatic and characteristic politicians in Europe? The truly European levelled politicians seem to have disappeared. You can’t find a Kohl, Delors or Schuman nowadays. In their place burocrats, lobbies and transnational economic interest-groups has showed up. Is this why the Europe Hungary got invited into vanished? Are there any great European levelled politicians left? 

Kinga Gál: Orbán Viktor is considered a European levelled politician nowadays in Europe. Even by his opponents. This fact is one of the reasons he gets attacked this often and also why he became the bogeyman in the western media. He is someone you need to involve in the politics of the continent, unavoidable. The problem is that European decision-makers lack vision. To be on a European level you need to have a vision and it needs to meet with the will of the people. What I see is that a chunk of European politics and politicians live in an illusion, in the rapture of a federalist Europe without nations, a United States of Europe. They are completely disconnected from their voters. If we listen to the debates in the EP, you can see that half of the MEPs live in a world with no connection to reality what so ever. The world they are fighting for, the one which we are constantly confronted with is unrealistic however. I mainly think about the greens, the communists, the liberals and the socialists. They chase illusions while losing their voter-base. There is also the problem of the narrowing number of people who are willing to fight for a Europe which we inherited and with the merits we inherited it with. This is something we wish to pass down unchanged to the next generations. If we look at the dialogues only Hungarian and Middle-European representatives talk about this nowadays.

HJGY: The other side says that there are other European levelled politicians then Orbán. For example Merkel or Macron. What do you think about this? Who is the most dangerous to the future you represent?

Kinga Gál: Our starting point is that the Europe we fought for under the communist oppression, had real ideas once. These ideas transformed in Western-Europe because of the well-being of the western nations and the lack of their challenges. They got too comfortable. They have different challenges, and their politicians can only give them solutions with compromises. Their decisions have no real stakes. They have faced different hardships in the past years, than we did. They did not have to face problems like how to re-build a society, a state, a political system or a democracy from scratch. This is why they believed such crazy things as “Hungarians do not need a new constitution” and this is why they attacked the Hungarian constitution (Alaptörvény) because it started with the first lines of our national anthem: “Isten áldd meg a magyart…”. They live in a completely different world, and they are focusing on their selfish and prosperity connected problems. There is no sign of empathy towards what we Hungarians –or other middle Europeans- had to face in the past century.

HJGY:Why do you think the MEP’s of the opposition parties lack the minimal decency as a Hungarian to vote against something which is a clear attack on their own country?

Kinga Gál: You can see the lack of this decency clearly when in a debate about Hungary. A democratically elected Prime Minister got such comments which one should not in a debate on this level. But I don’t think it is possible to answer this question in a simple interview. Let’s go through the more problematic times of Hungarian history whether there is a minimal decency as a Hungarian. I think this is a deeper and older problem in Hungary, but there are some positive signs too, because the common points of the Hungarian people got obvious. This was proven in the National Consultation about migration or about families. In my opinion you can say that there is a consensus about migration in Hungary. Compared to that you can disregard the hysterical comments of some of the pro-migration opposition politicians, which is driven by their frustration and Orbán-phobia. People are not stupid, they can see what is at stake in the elections.

HJGY: The question of “friendly fire” which Fidesz gets from time to time in EPP, generally without any reason is quite delicate. Yet they continue to support EPP. One could ask if the Fidesz gets attacked so unjustified then why they do not leave the EPP? Loyalty comes first?  

Kinga Gál: This is not just about loyalty. We did not change. Our viewpoints did not change since we got invited and joined the EPP. The debates about us in the EPP are meaning that a good portion of the groups parties shifted on the political spectrum. This does not mean however that we have no place in this EPP. It is sad that we shifted to the edge of the spectrum, however without us there the traditional EPP would not exist anymore. They would lose what they have left from the traditional EPP.  We are talking about a group which shifted on the political spectrum, but this does not mean that they would not understand us. The loud minority of the group which often criticizes us not necessarily gives a true picture. You can see the same people criticising us over and over, even though maybe their own voters do not think like they do. I think the majority does not think we should be expelled, rather they believe we belong here in the EPP. There is one other thing however which we must face: the media in Western-Europe completely demonizes and criticizes everything the Hungarian government does. The best example is when they attacked our 7 points in the field of protecting families. Not a day goes by without the newspapers and televisions of their capitals saying something negative about our government or Hungary itself. They brand us as evil and unacceptable. There are EPP politicians often called out by the media about why they still tolerate us etc. I recently confronted my german colleagues with the fact, that the whole of the liberal media in Europe is trying to generate a division in the EPP so we will get weaker. Their interest is to stop the EPP from being the largest and strongest group in Europe and make it a weak one, without Fidesz. This is a political campaign and should be regarded according to that.

HJGY: What kind of cooperation is possible with the anti-migration forces outside of the EPP?

Kinga Gál: The EPP still regards itself as the group which will be the strongest in the new European Parliament. We as Fidesz would like to be one of the strongest parties within this fraction, this would greatly increase our influence in the EPP. My hope is that the new Parliament will help to those who are able to see clearly what the future of Europe really is. I’m hoping that the illusion-chasing pro-migration politicians are going to be pushed back. What I see is that some of the loudest ones are not even nominated to come back. This is why I hope that the new Parliament will reflect the expectations and needs of the EU citizens better. I think that the biggest problem is that the current majority does not wish to see and hear, what the majority of the European citizens expect from them.

HJGY: What do you think about Judith Sargentini?

Kinga Gál: Ms. Sargentini got the opportunity of her life, but she made the mistake of making a report in such a way that it disregards facts. The NGO-s wrote it for her, with the help of the representatives of the Hungarian opposition who put in all of their frustration. She proved everything we have been saying for months about the untruthfulness of the report, when she joined an opposition event on the square before the Parliament and she said as a lead speaker that she would do anything to topple the current Hungarian government. This is when she retroactively proved that her report does not consistent with the principles of neutrality and she lost her credibility in the eyes of everyone. The credibility which in our opinion she did not have even when she was making the report. The Hungary-debate on the 30th of January was the last charge of the frustrated, pro-migration opposition before the EP elections. They wanted to seriously hurt us, they failed. These attacks are making us stronger, because people are able to see what is going on, they can’t be deceived. They know that the stakes of the European Parliamentary elections have never been this high.

Original interview in Hungarian: