Mr Orbán stressed that “Hungary, Central Europe and Germany are inseparably tied together,” and “we are the most natural allies in the preservation of competitiveness, and we will be in the future, too.”
He said in addition and next to the plant manufacturing combat vehicles, there are also a test track and a test hall, meaning that production, research and development are conducted in a single place.
“Strictly by the book, Made in Hungary, in every sense of the term,” the Prime Minister said, adding at the same time that without German technology this “made in Hungary would not be what it is.”
Mr Orbán drew attention to the fact that many who do not concern themselves with the defence industry in depth may think that as there is a war under way, with the establishment of the factory we are merely trying to keep up with events; however, that is not how it all happened. He recalled that they had adopted the first decisions back in 2017, while they had decided on the factory in Várpalota in 2020, a good two years before the start of the Russo-Ukrainian war.
“Everything you see here happened before anyone else realised that all this would be required,” he told the attendees of the inauguration ceremony, stressing that only large countries can afford to be slow, while smaller countries must be nimble and prudent.
In his opinion, therefore, the inauguration of the Zalaegerszeg plant is a result of collective German-Hungarian wisdom, a result of foresight, a result of the joint assessment of the political situation in Europe and in the world. At the same time, he thanked Rheinmetall Chairman Armin Papperger for having helped the government’s decisions with his thoughts as well.
He also said “Lynxes made on Hungarian soil will steal” out of the gates of the factory shortly, and the factory will be operated by Hungarian workers and Hungarian engineers. He observed that this should also be kept in mind when “we think of the over-criticised Hungarian education system” as the engineers and workers who will work with the world’s most modern technology all acquired the foundations of their knowledge in Hungarian schools.
Peace requires strength, the Prime Minister stated. Mr Orbán said the government has not surrendered the plan of building an independent defence industry.
The Prime Minister dismissed the position that peace requires weakness, not strength as nothing short of absurd. He said peace requires fortitude as well as economic and military strength.
He said it requires fortitude so that Hungary can resist the pro-war pressure with which they are trying to force the country into the war.
For Hungary peace is the only acceptable moral and political stance, he laid down.
Mr Orbán said we need economic strength so that we get over the troubles caused by the Russo-Ukrainian war and the sanctions that were introduced due to the war and are destroying the European economy.
He added that we need military strength so that everyone can see that we are able to preserve the country’s security even in times of war, and so “instead of warring, it’s more useful to be on good terms with us.”
He also said for almost four years now the government has been working in crisis mode, but has nonetheless not abandoned its overarching plans. We have not surrendered the plan of building an independent Hungarian defence industry, and neither have we given up on the plan of Hungarian innovation and technology finding its way to the vanguard of the world, Mr Orbán said, taking the view that the war has steeled our determination that the Hungarian defence forces must be renewed.
He highlighted that in Hungary this year the level of defence expenditures will reach two per cent of GDP, and it is to be hoped that we will be able to maintain this level also next year.
He indicated that this is not only important from the perspective of Hungary’s defence, but is also an obligation as the country is a member of NATO.
According to Mr Orbán, Hungarians are not learning the trade of soldiering now either, Hungarian military virtues have a long proud history, “our German friends, too, know that well,” he said. “We’re not building on sand when we want to create a strong Hungarian army again,” he pointed out.
Listing the projects implemented in the region, he said Zalaegerszeg has become a place where one can clearly see the future, at least, as far as the automotive industry, defence technology and electronics are concerned.
He also spoke about the agreement to which the Israeli company UVision is also a party; a joint venture has been set up for the production of combat drones in Hungary.
“If I heard about a country that manufactures and develops military technology together with the Germans and the Israelis, I would think twice before picking a fight with them, and this is good news for every Hungarian,” he said.
He further said in Várpalota one of Europe’s most modern ammunition factories, also in cooperation with Rheinmetall, will start operations next year. He added that the Gyula factory of Airbus where parts were manufactured for cutting-edge attack helicopters had been inaugurated a year ago.
They are not content with inviting foreign partners to Hungary, he said, adding that in the Czech Republic the company Aero Vodochody manufacturing trainer and combat aircraft had been taken into Hungarian ownership, meaning that there was now a Hungarian-owned aircraft manufacturer as well.
The Prime Minister thanked Zalaegerszeg for hosting the project, and expressed his wish: “May these factories stand here and continue production for a long time in proof of the fact that we Hungarians were, are and will be destined for great things.”