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Reactions to PM Orbán’s annual Băile Tușnad address

July 25th, 2023

Opposition-leaning commentators find the Prime Minister’s speech flat and meaningless, though provocative, while pro-government columnists praise it as revelatory.

In his annual address to the participants at the 32nd ‘Summer University’ at Băile Tușnad in Transylvania, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the United States is losing ground to China and Europe is still rich but weak. He expressed the hope that Hungary will be back on a growth trajectory by next year and in that case, he promised to outline a strategy till 2040 in his Băile Tușnad speech in 2024.

On Hírklikk, Péter Németh describes Mr Orbán’s picture of the world political scene as a pure juggling act and finds his reaction to a Romanian diplomatic note rude. The Romanian foreign ministry apparently asked him not to talk about ‘nonexisting administrative regions’ of Romania, whereupon the PM said ‘we never considered Transylvania and Szeklerland Romanian regions’.

In Magyar Hang, Szabolcs Szerető writes that the Prime Minister avoided addressing the main concerns of the Hungarian population, namely the economic and welfare crisis the country is facing. ‘Posturing’ against Romania was a show element, while ‘sticking pins into Czechia’ caused some ‘regional turbulence’, he adds (The Prime Minister and the Interior Minister of the Czech Republic rejected Mr Orbán’s claim that their government succumbed to federalist pressure.)

In Népszava, Mária Gál finds no original ideas or messages in the Prime Minister’s speech and characterizes it as a flat and meaningless address by a burned-out politician. She also accuses Mr Orbán of having ignored a red line a Prime Minister should never cross, when disclosing the contents of a diplomatic message and even poking fun at it.

In Magyar Nemzet, Ottó Gajdics reads Mr Orbán’s words as a revelatory address which helped listeners make sense of the intricacies of today’s world politics. In a turbulent world where opposing blocks are created, Hungary is building links instead of deepening the divide, he writes. Within the European Union, Gajdics continues, Hungary is ‘defending national sovereignty in the face of federalist pressure’.

In Magyar Hírlap, László Bogár praises the Prime Minister for his courage in castigating today’s world, and especially his remark that ‘we have become hedonist pagans’ and are thus dooming our culture to decline. Hungary should therefore ‘hang on to the last trench in the global identity war’, defending families, the national community and Christianity, Bogár writes.

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