In his speech the Prime Minister highlighted that Hungary would like Serbia to join the EU as soon as possible. This is in the best interests of every Hungarian citizen, and this would be beneficial for Europe, for those living in Vojvodina and for the Hungarians there.
Hungary has a vested interest in a successful Serbia, which can become a valued member of the EU, and Vojvodina will play a key role in this, given that this region is a bridgehead connecting Serbia with Hungary and Europe, Mr. Orbán said.
The Hungarian prime minister thanked the Serbian prime minister Aleksandar Vučić –who was in attendance – for having supported the Masterplast project. He also welcomed the opening of the plant, saying that this required a few talented people to conceive and implement the idea, some others to run the plant and a great many committed people to work there. He expressed the hope that other Hungarian businesses will follow suit.
He said that in all such cases investors first try to find out if there is a sufficiently well-trained, intelligent, honest and hardworking labour force in the selected location. The fact that this Hungarian project came to this particular location is primarily thanks to the Hungarians and Serbs living there. Mr. Orbán said that this project is a brave step promoting the advancement of Serbia, but at the same time it is equally beneficial for Hungary and Europe.
The Prime Minister stressed that the Hungarians and Serbs have another joint venture, which also takes a great deal of courage. They would like a Europe in which Hungary and Serbia are successful. This can be achieved if the two countries are partners, he said.
As Mr. Orbán pointed out, the two countries have a vested interest in each other’s success. The world has changed dramatically over the last few years; what is needed now is to also make sure that others have an interest in our success – and this is particularly true in this region. None of us can achieve success by trying to do so at the expense of each other. Policy such as this was responsible for the long period of Central European decline, in which it lacked a modern economy and true independence, he explained.
The Prime Minister said that in the wake of the economic crisis we tend to see things in a different light, and we have been given an opportunity to open a new chapter and to change over to strategies which seek to ensure that others – neighbouring countries in particular – have an interest in our own success.
Mr. Orbán stressed that a few years ago no one would have bet on Serbia being in the position it is in now. From an economic point of view it was at its lowest point, and its progress since then has been an outstanding achievement for the country. This has required good leadership, he said, and the current Serbian government has also played its role in this achievement, as they needed courage and sound economic policy. He added that he sincerely hopes that the Government in Belgrade can continue for a long time the work with which it is making Serbia successful and a good neighbour to Hungary, and which will integrate the country into the community of European nations.
The Prime Minister said that Hungarian-Serbian relations have perhaps never been better. This is the product of hard work, taking place over many generations, together with the commitment of the Serbian government and the Hungarian government’s nationally-oriented approach. This is an exceptionally fortunate moment, which must be sustained in the long term. If the two countries are unable to keep up this good cooperation, good relations will deteriorate, and so will the economic results, he pointed out.
He stressed that it is in everyone’s best interest to continue the policy of cooperation in the future, and we must make every effort to ensure that what has been achieved so far should be preserved.
In closing, Mr. Orbán called upon the Hungarians of Vojvodina to vote in the upcoming elections, to take part in the joint decision, and to ensure that there is strong Hungarian representation and a government which can work to the satisfaction of us all.