I am Gergő Hajdú, one of the founders of aHang, one of Hungary’s most significant civil advocacy groups, boasting a membership of approximately 600,000 citizens.
Today, as the European Union’s most influential leaders, including heads of state and government, convene to deliberate on critical political and financial matters shaping our shared European destiny, I stand before you with a pressing concern.
The Prime Minister of Hungary has waged a relentless campaign to erode trust in the European Union and its institutions, aiming to tarnish the Union’s image and value system. I wish to highlight a particularly harmful falsehood in this smear campaign, one that deeply affects millions of Hungarians.
A key instrument in the government’s propaganda arsenal is the so-called “national consultation.” This political tool not only stirs the ruling party’s base but also intentionally fragments Hungarian society. It further supplies the Prime Minister with deceptive arguments for domestic and EU politics. A recent example is the national consultation’s inflammatory stance against Brussels, particularly regarding the proposed €50 billion additional support for Ukraine by the European Commission.
The government claims that 1.5 million people participated in Orban’s latest consultation. However, these claims are unverified, as no independent body has seen or counted these submissions. There is no legal basis for the so called national consultation, there is no transparent procedure that guarantees the verifiability of the results. Remarkably, 98-99% of participants purportedly agree with all the government’s positions. This figure, or mandate as Orban calls it, represents just 18% (1.5 million) of Hungary’s voting-age population, and reveals a stark gap between the government’s portrayal and reality. The Prime Minister misleads millions of Hungarians and EU leaders by presenting this as a near-unanimous mandate. He comes to Brussels today, falsely claiming to represent 98% of Hungarian’s consensus.
In contrast, a different form of consultation is underway in Hungary. Thousands of NGOs, political parties, businesses, trade unions, and activists are gathering blank government consultation sheets, not to discuss anti-Brussels rhetoric, but to address real, pressing issues affecting our nation and daily lives. We refuse to engage in demagogic questions designed to divide our society and mislead European opinion.
We ask: How can we reform our deeply flawed education system? What should a 21st-century education look like in Hungary? Should we govern teachers and health workers through authoritarian measures? What are our views on restricting strike rights across various sectors? When will education and environmental protection be represented by dedicated ministries again? What are the costs of aspiring to be a battery factory superpower, especially regarding our water resources? What is the Prime Minister’s concrete plan for Hungary’s role as a ‘climate champion’? Lastly, do we wish to continue hosting Europe’s largest fireworks display, where the cost of a beer will stays 1 euro for eternity.