No, Viktor Orban did not announce that Hungary was going to leave the EU

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No, Viktor Orban did not announce that Hungary was going to leave the EU

After the United Kingdom, Hungary? On numerous posts that have gone viral on Facebook, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban reportedly announced at the beginning of the year that his country would leave the European Union during the year 2023. “The politician complained that the country had been lured into the European community by deceit and that the promises made to it from Brussels had not been kept,” said one of the publications.

The words of the Hungarian Prime Minister are even quoted in the article. “We were part of a European family which turned out to be an LGBT family, where the parents are imposed on the child instead of the father and the mother, numbered like in a concentration camp. The Hungarian people never accepted, so it’s not possible with Brussels. We are immediately starting the procedure for withdrawing from the European Union,” the politician reportedly said, before advancing a potential rapprochement with China, India, Russia, Iran and Serbia.

Also according to the publications, the procedure for leaving the European Union would be effective for the month of May. “It will be the day of our victory”, even said Viktor Orban during his speech. But contrary to the assertions of the very viral publications, these remarks were in fact never pronounced.

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To better understand the words of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, we are trying to find the speech in question, relayed by numerous publications. However, even when translating into Hungarian, no press article or archive mentions such a speech on the occasion of the New Year.

Same observation on the Prime Minister’s website which relays all his official trips: no speech has been published since December 21.

A speech in the hands of the President

There is a good chance that this speech will not exist in the end. In Hungary, it is up to the President of the Republic to hold a speech for the New Year, and not to the Prime Minister. By performing a keyword search in Hungarian with the following terms “new year’s speech Hungary”, we come across on an article from local media Magyar Nemzet [un quotidien hongrois plutôt conservateur] which relates the speech delivered by the President of the Republic of the country, Katalin Novák. The same event was relayed by Hungary today, a Hungarian news blog in English.

In the articles, we learn that President Katalin Novák gave her “traditional” New Year’s reception on January 11 at the Hungarian House of Music in Budapest. During her speech, she made particular reference to the difficulties encountered by Hungarians after the coronavirus epidemic, but also with the neighboring war between Russia and Ukraine.

Tensions with Brussels

During her speech, the President of the Republic also mentioned the difficult relations between Hungary and Europe, in particular with the recent exclusion of Hungarian universities from the Erasmus + programme. At the start of January, the European Union threatened Hungary with cutting off funding for the 21 universities considered to be too close to Fidesz, the ruling party.

However, no mention of a withdrawal of Hungary from the European Union was announced during the speech mentioned by Internet users. It is true, however, that tensions are increasingly tense between Budapest and Brussels.

A strained relationship, but no divorce

A few days earlier, on December 21, Viktor Orban held a press conference in the Hungarian capital. In particular, he was questioned about his diplomatic isolation within Europe. “Hungary disagrees with the European Union, but is not isolated,” he tried to reassure. Asked about “hungrophobia”, a term that often comes up during his speeches, the Prime Minister said that it would not motivate him more from the European Union. “We are used to this treatment.”

In the discourse imagined on the networks, another term comes up: that of “the LGBT family”. Viktor Orban would have compared his place in the European Union to a family “where the parents are imposed on the child instead of the father and the mother”. If again, these words were not actually spoken, the anti-LGBT rhetoric resembles the usual speeches of the Hungarian Prime Minister and his ultra-conservative politics. In June 2021, the Hungarian parliament, for example, passed an anti-LGBT law prohibiting the “representation or promotion” of homosexuality.

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