Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Today something has happened that has never happened before. Hungary has been honoured by the visit of a president of Brazil, This is a diplomatic event in our life, and – considering the difference in our two countries’ sizes and capacities – a special honour. Of course, before the talks we expressed our condolences to the people of Brazil with regard to the recent natural disaster there.
As for the substance of our talks, Ladies and Gentlemen, in addition to the excitement of this being the first visit of its kind, there was the fact that His Excellency came directly from Moscow. Today diplomatic life – and I think even everyday life – is overshadowed by the possibility of war; and therefore any diplomatic effort aimed at avoiding war is extremely valuable for the whole world – but especially for Hungary, as we are close to this conflict zone. In Hungary we know little about this, which is why I should say that the European Union has nine strategic partners, one of which is Brazil. It is also true that few people know that there are special levels of status for partners linked to NATO; and although Brazil is not a member of NATO, it is also, as they say, a “major non-NATO ally”. So Brazil is also a military cooperation partner, and we thank His Excellency for the efforts he has made in recent days to promote the maintenance of peace in this part of Europe.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In terms of territory, Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world; and in terms of population it is the sixth largest, with around 214 million people. Brazil is also the world’s twelfth largest economy. It is therefore clearly in Hungary’s interest to cultivate close cooperation between our countries. And I am pleased to inform the Hungarian public that Brazil and Hungary share the same approach to what we could call the world’s big, global challenges – something which provides a strong foundation for our cooperation.
We have the same approach on the issue of migration. Large international organisations are striving for the adoption of documents in which migration is presented as a blessing and a positive development for humanity. You may recall that when there were attempts to impose the Global Compact on Migration on the world, some countries – Israel, the United States, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary – blocked the creation of this global compact. This is why, thank God, there is today no common global position making it possible – or even recommended, and perhaps later mandatory – for nations and nation states to see migration as a benefit. Later the Americans changed their position, but a new president had been elected in Brazil, and so the numbers have remained the same. So there are still some – whom we call “the coalition of the sane” – who do not want the world to change as a result of migration. This global pact on migration has a little brother, a little European brother, which is now being negotiated by the European Union, where there are similar aspirations. I would like to make it clear that in the European arena we will also prevent migration rules being recommended to us or imposed on us in the future. With our Brazilian friends we have also agreed to create a joint early warning system in the international arena: if there are documents in any international space anywhere in the world that contain recommendations on migration that we disapprove of or that are against our interests, we will detect them in time and cooperate on blocking them.
The second civilisational issue on which our approaches are the same is support for persecuted Christian communities. We find it absurd that while the most persecuted religion in the world today is Christianity, and while Christians are being persecuted in larger numbers than followers of any other religion, at the same time the civilisation which has grown from Christian roots – primarily European civilisation – is doing very little to protect those in the world who are being persecuted for their faith. Today we have signed an agreement on working together to help persecuted Christian communities in Africa.
And our approaches are similar in relation to the third great global challenge – or anthropological challenge, if you like: the attack on families. This attack seeks to impose on the world a concept of family that is different from what we think of as family. The Hungarian constitution is clear: a father is a man, a mother is a woman; one man and one woman create a family. We shall do everything we can in every arena to ensure that this approach is not relativised. We are not talking about one possible form of family: this is the family that history and culture have created for us, and that we want to maintain. I have also informed His Excellency that Hungary is a democratic country, and that on this issue – as well as on migration, which we also consider to be a great civilisational challenge for us – the Hungarian government will not simply take a position, but that there will be a referendum, in which the will of the majority in Hungary will be clearly expressed on the issue of child protection.
The fourth important common approach that defines our relations is a commitment to free trade. Free trade is vital for Hungary, and Hungarian exports form a huge proportion of our gross domestic product, within which they account for 80 to 90 per cent of the total. This means that if there were no free trade in the world, Hungarians’ standard of living would be much worse than it is now, because for us participation in international trade offers us the greatest economic opportunities. This leads us to share Brazil’s line of thinking, and we have agreed on Brazil’s openness to receiving investment from Hungary. We have an outward investment strategy, a strategy to promote foreign investment; and we see Brazil as a country of great opportunities, with large numbers of Hungarian investments going to Brazil in the future. There are already early birds or swallows: there is investment in biotechnology in Brazil, for example; and also present in Brazil is the Gedeon Richter pharmaceutical company, one of the prides of the nation – one of the prides of the Hungarian nation.
The fifth thing that we agreed on is that Brazil will participate in the development programme for the Hungarian military. Brazil is not only a large country, but also a country of consequence with a large army, substantial military technology and an extensive military industry. We have already purchased two jet-powered military transport aircraft from Brazil, which will be completed, delivered and commissioned by 2023, and which will be integrated into the Hungarian army’s capacities. We have agreed that in the future we will broaden this path of military-industrial cooperation.
And finally I would like to tell you that we consider Brazil very important for Hungarian higher education – both as a partner and as a market. In Hungary today, 504 Brazilian students are studying on scholarships, with half of these – 250 Brazilian students – taking advantage of scholarships granted by the Hungarian state to study here. We are presented with a huge opportunity. In certain areas, Hungarian higher education is close to being world class, or is perhaps already at that level. And in these areas we hope that ever more Brazilian students will come to Hungary – not only on Hungarian state scholarships, but also on a market basis. I would like to assure you, Your Excellency, that they will be received with great respect and will be very welcome.
I thank His Excellency for his visit to Hungary. I was at his inauguration as president, which was a fantastic event, and a great people’s celebration. And our wish for His Excellency is that we will have the opportunity to participate in such an event the next time it is held; and so of course we have accepted his invitation. Nevertheless I have had to say that, since there will be an election in Hungary in April, that decision still needs to be ratified by the voters. But we have good hopes for this too, and we hope that, after Budapest, our next meeting will be in Brazil.
Your Excellency, thank you very much for being with us today.