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Hungary to be among the EU’s best five countries by 2030

Identifying another goal to be attained by 2030, the Prime Minister said that Hungary should be among the EU’s five most competitive countries.

He also spoke of other goals to be achieved by 2030: halting – and then reversing – the country’s demographic decline; rebuilding the Carpathian Basin through the construction of rapid road and rail links; the building of Central Europe as a single political and economic region; and attainment of energy independence for Hungary. Regarding the latter, he said that there must be a phased abandonment of one-sided dependence on Russian energy, Hungary must have internal energy sources and access to energy from multiple sources outside the country. In this regard he described the Paks Nuclear Power Plant project as being at the heart of Hungarian sovereignty.

In his speech – which lasted around fifty minutes – Mr. Orbán also outlined plans to be implemented by 2022, including strengthening the culture of patriotism and combating the “culture of self-hatred”. He said that “our national identity is a source of our pride”, and a key element in this is creation of the national curriculum for schools.

As a further goal he mentioned the tangible improvement of Hungary’s economic competitiveness by 2022. In this regard, the Prime Minister said, at its Cabinet meeting on Wednesday the Government had adopted decisions, and further major, comprehensive decisions are expected in the near future. He also highlighted that the Government is well aware that physical labour will not disappear from the Hungarian economy, but when Hungary participates in creating international value chains, it is important that it should do so at the highest level possible. Therefore when Hungary supports investments, he said, the main consideration will be whether or not the plans serve to maintain or raise standards in technological terms.

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Photo: Károly Árvai

He stressed the importance of the launch of new demographic measures and programmes, saying that the aim is to pursue these objectives in every possible department, and to make them a criterion in providing state funding. He made reference to the national consultation currently under way, which aims to settle debates in advance, arriving at shared standpoints and reaching public consensus on demographic issues.

He also spoke about building an independent Hungarian army, noting that Hungary is a strong country, but in this regard is at a disadvantage compared with its regional competitors. He stated that a country cannot be strong without a strong army that is able to defend itself, and the efforts to create such an army have begun.

The Prime Minister said that over the past year the most important development has been that the parliamentary election in April guaranteed continuation of Hungary’s internal political stability for the next four years. In his opinion, without a stable government Hungary would have neither a stable economy nor a stable culture. In this context he pointed out that Hungary is the only state in Europe where there have been no early elections since 1990.

He described the two-thirds electoral majority as a splendid result which even makes constitutional amendments possible – something which has already happened, and will continue in the future if the pursuit of stability demands it.

Turning to international matters, Mr. Orbán expressed the hope that after next May’s European Parliament elections European institutions will be more strongly attached to the continent’s traditional values and roots. This would be a more favourable environment for Hungary, the Prime Minister said.

He summed up the change which may come into being after May 2019 as a shift towards a more nation-oriented, right-leaning, Christian European political life characterised by civic cultural values.

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Photo: Károly Árvai

Mr. Orbán said he hopes that the European Commission will return to its neutral role of guardian of the Treaties, and stop looking upon itself as a political player – something which has led it to engage in disputes with Hungary.

The Prime Minister spoke about cooperation with Hungary’s neighbouring countries, pointing out that over the past few years Hungary has managed to develop relations with the Slovaks, Croats, Slovenes and Serbs which are based on trust.

Everyone can see that cooperation is always more beneficial than confrontation, said Mr. Orbán, who stressed that the development of cooperation will be the driving impetus in relations with neighbouring countries. Everyone can see that those who cooperate with the Hungarians benefit, he confirmed, and Hungary is prepared to cooperate with everyone.

He said that the era sometimes referred to as “one hundred years of Hungarian solitude” has come to an end: Hungarians should be optimistic and believe that they not only have two to three good years ahead of them, but that they have brought an era to a close, and are witnessing the first years of a new century-long era.

The Prime Minister also spoke about the situation in Ukraine, noting that Hungary’s eastern neighbour has no credible time horizon for accession to either NATO or the EU.

He stated that there seems to be no chance of coming to any kind of agreement with Ukraine’s current political leadership. He noted that there will be a presidential election in Ukraine in the near future, and it will be a great achievement if before then the situation does not deteriorate. After that, he said, it will become clear whether the present anti-Hungarian political trend will continue, or if there will be a presidential administration which seeks cooperation with Hungary.

He indicated that Hungary is in contact with all the potential winners, and attempts are already being made to conduct the negotiations needed to alter the current situation – which is bad for both Hungary and Ukraine – after a favourable political change. These, he noted, could enable Ukraine to find its way back to the path which may be described as Hungarian friendship or strategic alliance. In his view this is the only path for Ukraine if it wishes to join NATO or the EU.

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Photo: Károly Árvai

The Prime Minister summed up relations as follows: “We have rights and possibilities. We expect Ukraine to engage in a friendly relationship with us as an ally, and not to oppress, harass or persecute those Hungarians who are today citizens of Ukraine. Give them what they are entitled to, and take advantage of the fact that Hungary is ready to take part in the development of Transcarpathia and the regions beyond, and to contribute to the stabilisation and rise of Ukraine.”

Regarding Hungarian-US relations, he said that the present administration in Washington does not feel the need to rewrite the Hungarian Constitution. He stated that relations with this US administration are good not only in military and economic terms, but also in political terms.

Speaking about another group of countries – Turkey, Egypt and Israel – the Prime Minister drew attention to the fact that migration has made stability in these countries a primary interest for Hungary. If these countries were to become unstable, the waves of migration heading for Europe through Hungary would multiply in size, he observed. He made special mention of Israel, expressing his pleasure with the currently warm nature of Hungarian-Israeli relations.

Speaking about the Hungarian government’s policy on Asia, Mr. Orbán said that the building of relations with China, India, Vietnam or Indonesia is not driven by ideological considerations: “We are striving for purely business-oriented relations without political preconditions, and we want to achieve the strongest possible export results.”

At the end of his speech he told Hungarian diaspora communities that the funds allocated for programmes aimed at them will continue to be available in the coming years.

In this context he mentioned the Hungarian economy’s 5 per cent growth rate, although he noted that some analyses forecast that a minor world economic crisis will emerge some time between 2019 and 2023. He said that on the following Saturday there would be a meeting focusing on devising a Hungarian economic policy action plan in order to guard against and manage such a contingency.