Hungarian National Day in Brussels

2019. 03. 26.

Remarks by László Tőkés

The Hungarian Delegation of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament and the Magyar Hullám Public Life and Cultural Society hosted a commemoration and reception on the occasion of the March 15 National Day at the Hotel Le Plaza in Brussels. László Tőkés, MEP from Transylvania,  and Bence Tuzson, State Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, delivered remarks. The evening’s special guest was the Csík Orchestra. Several representatives from diplomatic missions in Brussels as well as Pál Schmitt, former President of Hungary, attended the celebration held on March 18th.

László Tőkés’s speech follows below.

The Hungarian and the European Spring

”Grace to you and peace from God!” ”Let there be peace, liberty and concord.”

On this extraordinary and traditional event of the Magyar Hullám and on behalf of the Hungarian Delegation of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament, I would like to warmly welcome Mr. Bence Tuzson, Secretary of State of the Hungarian Government, guests from diplomatic community in Brussels as well as members of the Hungarian community in Brussels and Belgium and, not least, Pál Schmitt, former President of Hungary – all those who have gathered to celebrate our national holiday, March 15, the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1848 Revolution and the performance of the legendary Csík Orchestra.

First of all, in the spirit of this place, I would like to remember the refugees who came to Brussels following the 1848 revolution, the tragic fate of the revolutionary Hungarian governor, Lajos Kossuth’s mother and sisters, who at that time found temporary shelter in Belgium. Their sacrifice for freedom is an example for all generations. This is also the message of the cemetery monument to Karolina Wéber, Lajos Kossuth’s wife, who died in December 1852, a monument that was paid for with public donations raised in 2015. Blessed be the memory of the revolutionary and freedom fighter emigrants!

Also in the spirit of the place, I recall the “European Spring” of the 1848 revolutions, one of the outstanding chapters of which was written by the Hungarians. We are proud that, in contrast to the European revolutionary movements that were repressed early on, the Hungarian Revolution and freedom fight was the longest-running: for almost one and a half years it was able to stand its ground against Habsburg’s absolutist autocracy and the power of Tsarist Russia.

Here in Brussels, the capital of the united Europe, we can safely say that in the House of European History, there is a special place for the revolutions of the “European Spring” – and among them, the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence of 1848-49 stands out. As our common heritage, events also referred to as the “springtime of the people” of 1848, let us remember the revolutions that swept through the capital cities and countries of Europe – through Milan, Paris, Vienna and Budapest, but let us also not forget about the Czech, Polish and Romanian revolutionary movements.

As a Hungarian Romanian, I cannot leave out my homeland, Transylvania, which belonged to Hungary at that time. Under the command of the Polish General József Bem, they fought a life-and-death struggle against tsarist troops brought in by the Habsburgs.

The “Young Europe” international revolutionary organization, founded by the Italian revolutionary, Giuseppe Mazzini, united liberal and nationalist ideas, individualism and national collectivism, the rights and freedom of the individual and the community, nationalist thought and human universalism. With his Risorgimento, the “apostle” of Italian national revival and unification of European nations reached the basic principle of the brotherhood of mankind on this path of thought. It was in the spirit of that thinking that our great poet, Mihály Vörösmarty, called the freedom-loving people of our continent the “home of nations, the great world”, and the poet and freedom fighter Sándor Petőfi called for his Hungarian people to fight for “world freedom”. This nationalism, in the positive sense of the word, and this early internationalism, precedes the contemporary European solidarity that the united Europe of nations is built upon, in the spirit of which healthy patriotism does not undermine but fits harmoniously the idea of Europeanism.

On Kossuth Square in Budapest on Friday, Hungary and Poland celebrated March 15 together. In the European community of sovereign nations, Prime Ministers Viktor Orbán and Mateusz Morawiecki commemorated our struggles for freedom in the spirit of our one thousand year-old friendship and committed themselves to fighting together for the future of our countries.

We rid ourselves of the Soviet communist, atheist dictatorship thirty years ago. This year’s anniversary of the uprising in Temesvár (Timisoara, in Romanian), which led to the fall of the communist, Ceauşescu regime, proclaims the love of freedom of the Romanians and Transylvanian Hungarians. “We will not let go of anything from 1848,” says the historical saying. Nor will we let go of anything from 1989 because we are determined by the ongoing struggle for freedom of the peoples of Eastern Central Europe.

Confronted by the current crisis situation in the EU and facing serious challenges, we have to fight for our countries, our common European values, our national and European interests and our identity, our Christianity and our freedom. During a visit to Poland, in the context of the forthcoming European Parliamentary elections and the coming EU reforms, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini spoke about the need for a “new European spring”. We also hope for this and we shall work for it!

“Let there be peace, liberty and concord!” said the message in the famous 12-point revolutionary program of the Hungarian youth of that March in 1848. Is it possible to wish for more and better for our Hungarian nation, which has suffered so much for freedom and for the “home of nations”, the community of European nations?

Let it be so!