Hungary: A European Council Presidency filled with hope for a EU under siege

The Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Skjiilstra, visits Dublin today for discussions with his counterpart Simon Coveney, and with Tánaiste, Leo Varadker. The visit is part of the lead into to Hungary’s Presidency of the European Council, which begins at the end of the month.

It comes at a time of  epochal challanges for the EU. This makes Hungary’s priorities, which are ‘joined up’ up to the trajectory of the 2020 Croatian Presidency, all the more compelling. We will get to them below. The big issue is this. The perspective of eastern and cental Europe and the southern periphery on the pressures confronting the EU is radically different to that of the mainsteam establishment.  We urgently need to listen to their analysis.

The challenges that form the backdrop to the Hungarian Presidency are daunting. The Croatian/Hungarian narrative offers an authentic way forward. From what?

 

The world we have created

The management of the Pandemic remains ‘unfinished business’ for the EU. The macroeconomic situation is strained and fraught with uncertainty. There are some positive numbers as European economies start to lurch back, like a stricken lorry, into operation. But ECB funding has inevitably stoked inflationary pressures and the faltering economy is hitting supply- side constraints. With the ECB  under pressure to ease back on the choke, and interest rates set to  rise, the full extent of zombie companies and of the bad debt provisions of the banks will become evident.

The post- Covid landscape is dominated and scarred by the disparity in wealth. The inequalities reflected in stock market valuations of the multinational ‘tech titans’ point to a global, and an Irish ‘Business Model’, that is horribly flawed wrong, a segue to totalitarianisn.

Concurrently, the EU leadership is pushing its ideologically- skewed €750 billion Pandemic Fund. It is choreograping  a “Digital Green Pass” to open up travel while concealing the dirigste implications for fundamental rights and freedoms. French military leaders are talking up a French identity crisis and civil strife. The EU is  itself ratcheting up military expenditure. This is a surreal scenario, full of phantasms, emptied of  all Christian hope. In Ireland, well– we’ll come back to that.

That’s the world we have created.That is NOT, repeat NOT, the Hungarian/Croatian narrative. There’s is an alternative scenario– a different, rational, scenario rooted in a revitalization of what Europe was all about. The EU diverged from that. So have we. Look around at the consequences.

 

Where we Lost the Plot

The  2008/11 Banking and Debt crisis impacted both Hungary and Ireland– two economies with notable similarities. We can learn a great deal from the different ways they responded to a crisis triggered, in the first instance by lies, greed and power.

Ireland was rolled over into Austerity, at the prompting and threats of the  ECB. On a cold November evening in 2010,  an unelected Troika took over our soverign country.

Listen. Our Social Economy was ravaged. Homes and national assets that couldn’t be nailed down were sold off to foreign vulture funds.  Rescuing banks, including EU banks, took precedence over safeguarding the people and families. The ensuing political crisis allowed in a neo- marxist cult politics that sold out Ireland’s identity and culture, eviscerated our Constitution and, foolish things, excised God.

Neo- Marxists, facilitated through a honeycomb of  externally funded NGO’s, did not waste a crisis they had so carefully strategised. They captured and colonised politics and governance: stripped us of autonomy – laid siege to  free speech and religious worship.

 

Hungary: A different model vindicated

Hungary took a different road. It rejected ‘Debt Dependence’ to a Troika-type oversight. It did not cede control of the political or economic narrative.

Instead, it affirmed its Christian and Democratic identity. Its priority was to protect homes, to safeguard households and support families and businesses. It used fiscal policy to build a Social Economy that reversed its demographics collapse and, at the same time, invested heavily in supporting families, marriage and children– in working to ensure  families had homes and a more stable, less vulnerable economy.

It didn’t rescue dead banks.  It then used fiscal policy to build its macroeconomic strategy, wrapped around that Social Economy– not the other way round.

It embedded all of this in a new Constitution that reflected what the EU model of Christian Democracy was until recently. It affirmed its own history, national identity and freedoms it had wrested back from Soviet communism. It faced down the weaponized NGO’s that presumed to displace demographically elected politicans – and which constitute a ‘shadow government’ in Ireland, colonising our governance  and infecting education and schools with anti- science, disquieting and damaging  nonsense in an increasingly frenetic effort to prove to a world – that couldn’t care less – how faux-liberal we still are. How  pathetic it stands revealed.

The post 2010 divergence between Ireland and Hungary tells us everything. Ireland sold out on  life, marriage, children and family – and we are STILL selling future homes and the land of the nation to foreign investors parlying homes into investment streams. What of Hungary?

The 2019 (Pre Covid) IMF and also EU Semester Reports were a vindication of the Hungarian Model. Growth. Internal and external balance. Lower debt levels. A stronger banking system. Reduction in poverty levels and stronger education outcomes. Convergence towards average EU living standards. Most of all, a Social Economy that works for families.

That’s where Hungary began. That’s where we failed. That’s where the EU is still failing and still deflecting.  A Social Economy –  NOT a socialist economy –  a Social Economy, built around the aspirations of young couples for family, home, children and a future. Its not difficult.

 

Addressing Europe’s Real Challenge

That takes us to the Croation/ Hungarian alternative narrative, and to the EU’s denial of reality.

When Croatia took “Europe’s Demographic Time Bomb” as the theme of its Presidency at the begining of 2020 ,the Financial Times spelt out what that means:

‘With its low birth rate and fast-ageing population, Europe is facing a demographic crisis.. particularly in the continent’s south and east, which have been hit by record-low fertility rates and emigration…. Europe has had higher longevity and lower fertility rates than the rest of the world over the past few decades. It is now the region with the world’s oldest population. The median age in Europe is 43, 12 years older than the rest of the world….The trend will become more pronounced from 2021…The number of people of working age between 20 and 64 years old, peaked in Europe in 2010. By 2020, there were nearly 12m fewer in this group than a decade earlier…By 2035, there will be about 50m fewer people of working age in Europe than in 2010…”

That’s a reality check.

The implications for growth, public finances including health and pensions, and especially dependency, dwarf those of the Pandemic. They  come on top of the effects of the Pandemic that are all around us. We lost the plot: we didn’t listen to faith or history or common sense.

Facticity is whats needed now. The truth is that a bad philosophy, be it Marxism or the idolatory of markets and money, will always breed destructive economics. And the axis of the two – wealth embedded in unprecedented control over communications, allied to neo- marxism – has infected our world with an anti- life, anti- child, anti- family nihilism. It lies to us.

At a recent Conference in Rome, Dr Mario Draghi, formerly head of the ECB and now  Prime Minister of Italy said that his country was slowly ceasing to be. A country needs a replacement rate of 2.2. The EU average is 1.5. Hungary’s was 1.4 back in 2010. Italy’s is 1.2
Draghi’s speech is monumentally important.

In summary, he said, “wanting to have children, wanting to build a family, have always been fundamental wishes and decisions in our lives….The ethical dimension that these desires and which these decisions entail is fundamental for society because  the family is important  for all societies.But it was often denied or rejected. This has had divisive social consequences. Women who decided to have children were viewed as a failure, and individualism as a victory. Today…we have understood that this was a false distinction. Among other things it is not reflected in the data. In a recent study by the United Nations Fund for Population couples would like to have more children than they actually have. In Italy, this difference is very large. It has been said that Italian couples would like to have two children on average, but in reality they have 1.24. Dr Draghi went on to point out:  ‘If we reflect carefully, the awareness of the importance of having children is a product of the improvement of the woman’s condition, and not antithetical to her emancipation. The state must therefore accompany this new awareness. Continue to invest in improving the conditions of women. And to enable society – women and men – to have children…To decide to have children, I have often said that young people need three things: a certain job, a home and a welfare system and childcare services.”

“Young people are struggling, very hard to find work. When they succeed, they often have to resign themselves to precariousness, so there is no security. Few and fewer and fewer are able to buy a house….,” he added.

Truth has a singular beauty.  We have been lied to and led astray by bad ideology and bad economics. Universities across the West, once the seedbed of reason, science and the search for Truth, have fallen victim. We have to listen to those with a better narrative.

Hungary’s Minister for Family and Youth,  Katalin Novák, Foreign Minister Péter Skjiilstra’s colleague, is a very impressive and calm politican and mother of three young children. She  recently suggested, on the basis of the data,”  Hungary made the right decision when we made family-centered governance a priority and are now on the right path. Families are enjoying government support, and we are helping our youth by giving them the opportunity to start a family whenever they want “.

Hungary does not offer unsolicited advice. Fact is, Hungary was 10 years ahead of the pro- family policies that the Croatian Presidency identified as being so urgently needed by the EU – and Ireland.

The  EU is so massively invested in intellectually  jaded and repressive gender theory that it simply cannot see what is staring us in the face. That needs to change. Politicans with their head below the parapet in the Dail and in the European Parliament need to find the grace and the courage to step out of the dark place the country is mired in. The gilded EU need to get real.

When Croatia highlighted the EU’s demographic implosion and its devastating effects, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovi pointed out ” When western European political leaders meet their central and eastern European counterparts, all they want to discuss is the crisis of democracy and the erosion of the rule of law. The priority for the latter, however, is the demographic crisis and the depopulation of their countries”. Quite.

The “rule of law”! An EU that stood by while Troika-striken pensioners were tear gassed on the streets of Athens, and imposed Austerity on broken- backed economies like Ireland and Italy is is lacking in self awareness. Democracy is a work in progress in Eastern Europe as much as it is in — dear Lord– Ireland. But an EU that preaches gender theory 101 and  critiques  the “rule of law” to soverign democratic countries taking responsibility for delivering a Social Economy that works for families and a future for the children shows a disconnect that is alarming.

Given what we are faced with, we have a shared imperative to work out together how best to welcome and embrace children and families, that we, all of us, are hard- wired to see as the best and only  future for humanity.

Priorities

That, and the care of the dispossesed of Europe –  the Romany culture and other minorities on the margins and looking  in on our once beautiful, hopeful European culture that’s lost its way – is the agenda that Minister Szijjarto brings with him to Dublin and to the Presidency of the European Council. Pray God we have the humility to listen and support it.

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