Letter of József Szájer to Members of the EPP Group

2018. 04. 10.

Dear Colleague,

I proudly report to You that this Sunday my party, Fidesz, with the leadership of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and together with our sister party, the Hungarian Christian-Democrats won an unprecedented third consecutive victory at the national parliamentary elections.

This is a great moment for us all!

I would like to thank those EPP colleagues – particularly our chairman Manfred Weber, who came two weeks ago to Budapest to support our campaign, to stand firm besides us, and Joseph Daul our president – who considerably helped us to score this success. Fidesz’ success is the success of our whole EPP family. Your support amongst the difficult fights in the campaign made us much stronger.

Thank you for your support!

The voter turnout was one of the highest in recent Hungarian political history, which makes this victory especially strong. Regardless that it was already the second time we were running for re-election we could considerably increase the number of people who supported us, we achieved a couple of hundred thousand more votes than in 2014. Not many democratic governments can boast in the world nowadays that after eight years of government people not only keep their trust in them but considerably increase it in numbers.

We expect 134 seats in the 199 members National Assembly (Országgyűlés).

Every second voter cast the vote for us. The rest was divided between seven different parties – with the biggest far right Jobbik among them with 20 %.

The percentage of our share of the popular vote is 49 percent, which proportionally makes us the most successful EPP member party on respective national level.

We are proud to be one of the strongest member of our great political alliance! We, in the Hungarian EPP delegation are particularly proud that the Head of the Campaign for Fidesz was our colleague MEP, András Gyürk.

It was a very difficult, long fight. Politics in Hungary has never been an afternoon tea-party. We had to work very hard for every single vote. All parties and a considerable part of the media (financed by oligarchs like Lajos Simicska or George Soros) were campaigning against us. It was a seven against-one-fight to win the majority necessary to govern. We were fighting with forces which had overwhelming media-power, unprecedented influence and almost limitless resources. (Fortunately divided… Our strength was in unity!) Their resources were often coming with a strong foreign support, from your countries’ media, political parties, your rivals at home, based against us.

Instead of the media we turned directly to the people, our activists knocked on doors, used direct mail, spoke to the citizens on the streets, sent direct messages. These efforts and relentless persistence made our endeavour successful again. We had a very strong and active campaign. The successful governance of eight years, the effective protection of our Southern border at the 2015 migration wave, our unemployment rate with fourth lowest figure in the EU, budget deficit under 3 percent, our economic growth over 4 percent, the wide range of family benefits introduced by us to fight for demographic sustainability, the fact that we were cutting half the national criminality rate were good bases for our arguments to convince people to vote for us again, for the first time. (Remember that in 2007 my country, Hungary under a socialist government, much before Greece turned first to the IMF and to the EU to avoid bankruptcy!)

We are all very exhausted at the moment, it was really difficult, but this is a good kind of exhaustion, which makes us ready to continue to go on to fight for our principles, for empowering the people, for protecting a democratic, competitive, Christian Europe built on strong member states.

The campaign against Viktor, and Fidesz was not limited to Hungary. The slanders and mean attacks which we unfortunately got used to already in the past years, for no surprise has continued on European level in this campaign. They are based on lies or truth distorted. People who live in Hungary knew very well that they were politically motivated and not true. So these efforts were not really successful, however annoyingly noisy they were.

The party whose Guy Verhofstadt came to campaign behind to Budapest did not make it to the Parliament, same way as the parties whom he supported in the 2010 or 2014 elections.

Most liberal European media took and copy-pasted the anyway already self-contradictory and slanderous attack points, they played from the scorebook of the opposition parties and media without any criticism whatsoever. The readers cannot check the facts themselves in Sweden, Spain or in Romania… (They can check it in Hungary and they voted accordingly.) It is like that if we heard about politics in the Bundestag or Westminster only and exclusively from the opposition point of view with no regard to the opinion of the (ruling) majority. (No surprise, that in this distorted mirror all Fidesz politicians look to be corrupt, operating a rotten, crony system of authoritarianism.) The reality refutes these. Do not eat this soup, too! I ask you again, not to believe in these lies. Hungarians think about these differently and consequently the voters refuted them by their support for us very clearly and spectacularly this last Sunday. Even if you do not wish to believe me, you may want to listen to the voice of the people in Hungary. The people, who in the regular forums in Brussels or the plenary of the EP are regularly referred to by our opponents not wanting an Orbán government! A nonsense, now contradicted by an obvious national election result!

Some of these opponents called our campaign antisemitic for our criticism of the Hungarian born financier Soros. Yes, we fight strongly against his influence in our country, as our colleagues from the EPP do as well in the Balkans and elsewhere, particularly in the area of mass migration, which the Hungarian public wants the government to stop. But to call it antisemitic just because the person we argue with happens to be of Jewish origin is absurd. That would mean that when Ingeborg Grässle or other colleagues argue in the CONT committee with Fidesz MEP Tamás Deutsch, who happens to be of Jewish origin, as well, that amounts to antisemitism, too. Absurd! I come from a country whose citizens had suffered from the most outrageous form of antisemitism, hundred thousands were killed in the Holocaust. My party has a zero tolerance on antisemitism, which has been confirmed by our government several times, the last important occasion for that was the visit of Benjamin Netanjahu in Budapest last summer. (Mr. Netanjahu’s government fights Soros’ political influence, too in Israel, is he antisemitic, too?) Those who use the antisemitism card in our daily electoral fights are guilty in abusing the memory of the victims, our compatriots. (The same local and foreign accusers had much less concerns however when it came to the question of Jobbik. Jobbik’s proved antisemitism was forgiven by many socialists, greens and liberals on the ground that they were fighting against Fidesz! Principles!?)

They also say that the campaign against mass migration is xenophobic. This is a lie. The campaign was not aimed at people of different origin but it was against the uncontrolled mass migration and the seemingly incapable politicians who want it to continue it this way. All surveys make it clear that migration this is the number one concern (along with terrorism) in all our member states in Europe, and it will be the central topic of the 2019 European elections, too. Fidesz has a strong, responsible stand against mass migration, with the overwhelming support of the public, proved by our national consultations and referendum on the topic. Too many of the political parties who denied the public’s concerns about migration lost elections and influence recently, the lesson is, that in a real democracy these concerns should be addressed, otherwise people lose faith in democracy itself and in centrist parties. (It would be a very big mistake for the EPP to leave this topic for the irresponsible, anti-European forces to herald on.) To equal criticism of migration with xenophobia is the usual wicked labeling act of our opponents in the left side of the European Parliament, of those who want to stop any kind of control over our borders. But cheap and shallow labelling does not make a slander true.

Our opponents say that we are against Europe. How long does it take to understand for certain people that criticism, even emotional one always has to be checked on the ground of intentions? Fidesz is a great European party, committed to the case of a strong Europe. We vote in favour of most of the issues in Parliament or Council, and when we criticize we do it with the aim to improve and not to destroy, unlike the real enemies of the common Europe. We have a great deal of issues where we think that the Union is on the wrong track of policy, and we want to change it. The fight against mistaken policies is underpinned by the fact that we want to make Europe better, stronger, richer. (I do not think that most of us can just walk away when we see the kind of manipulations we have seen in the case of appointment of the General Secretary of the Commission. Very damaging to the rule of law record of our Union!) If something damages the European Union that is inflexibility and the inability to take criticism, or public concerns seriously. I come from a country that had forty years of communism. We want the EU to be as discursive community as possible, where proposals can be made and seriously discussed, where members respect each other instead of labeling without listening to the other, and proclaiming the sentence in advance.

Dear Colleague,

This is where we stand at the moment. We all know that the day after victory is the first day of the new fight. The accusations against Orbán, Fidesz, Hungary are part of the party-political, ideological game going on for a long time in the EU, and I do not expect them to stop. We know that our rivals attack Fidesz because they want to weaken the EPP and its member parties in the course of our political fight for influence over the directions that Europe should take next year. Outside pressure however should never make us to feel threatened. We should fight back, and protect our principles and friends. Those who under pression of the rivals give up their principles and friends lose their own credibility. The spectacular victory of my party is the real proof that success comes when you are firm on your feet, on the ground, in close connection with reality. This has been always our strength in EPP (and Fidesz). Our rivals often deny reality, and that should remain their weakness, we should not let them press it on us, too.

Winston Churchill once said: „success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts“.

What I can promise in the name of my party in this shining hour of success to my friends and allies, that you should not be afraid, you can rely on us that we will keep to continue to have this courage.

Yours sincerely,

József Szájer MEP

EPP Group