We Hungarians are in a cultural expansion, “crisis or no crisis,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at the inauguration ceremony of the Hungarian House of Music in Budapest on Saturday.
The prime minister highlighted that Europe is facing difficult times with epidemics and waves of migration. “The European energy crisis is now also upon us, and ideological pressure from Brussels is increasing, while the political, military, economic and cultural weight of our continent is steadily shrinking in comparison with the rest of the world.”
While elsewhere such institutions have tended to shut down due to the epidemic, the Hungarian House of Music, which opened on the Day of Hungarian Culture, is part of a huge cultural investment, he said. According to the latest figures, the amount Hungary spends on culture is one of the highest in the European Union, the PM said, noting that being a “nation of culture” is an important part of Hungarians’ self-image.
In the building designed by Japan’s Sou Fujimoto, “we Hungarians feel at home.” It organically fits into its surroundings, which is an approach characteristic not only of Japanese architecture but also of the most outstanding Hungarian architectural traditions, the prime minister said.
PM Orbán recalled “how our political opponents behaved in terms of the City Park renewal” and that it was no coincidence that “the mayor of Budapest was too busy to make it here today.” However, this beautiful building, the crowds queuing up, and the international recognition it has received show “clearer than the sun that we were right,” he said. The Left defended what was dilapidated and undignified and opposed what was splendid, world-class and breathtaking, he added.
The prime minister recollected that
in 2010, they wanted City Park to become the citadel of Hungarian culture again, and that is how the Liget Project, Europe’s largest cultural investment, was born.
However, in its current form, the Liget Project is unfinished, he said, adding that this is why they are looking forward to “Hungarian voters finally putting an end to this issue in April.”
Today’s political debates in Europe are shedding new light on European high culture and its purpose, PM Orbán said: “Globalization versus Christian foundations, Brussels bureaucracy versus national pride, immigration versus family support, gender politics versus child protection.”
This is not a West-East conflict, but a new West-West conflict, the result of which is the threat of cultural alienation. “We want to keep Europe together,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said. “Thus, we also have to act against cultural alienation.”