Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to cordially welcome Angela Merkel repeatedly here in Sopron. We have come together to celebrate, but we also did some work. We had a bilateral meeting about which I would like to inform you briefly. Before that, however, I would like to repeat some of the thoughts that are closest to our hearts. I would like to remind everyone that while these events took place thirty years ago, the day, the day of the Sopron Picnic – which was the catalyst of the events leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall – has not lost any of its shine or significance. The Sopron Picnic was a great moment in Europe’s history, a key moment of the reunification of Europe. Observing things from here, from the East, we always believed that this day could come about because we – who were thrown to the Soviet world after World War II – never believed that two Europes could exist in the long run; because there is only one Europe which Europe’s freedom-loving people would reunite sooner or later.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As regards the work we have completed, we also reviewed our bilateral relations. Economic issues constituted the focus of our talks. You are aware that Germany is our number one trade partner, and the number one investor in our country. Fewer people are, however, aware that the volume of trade between the two countries breaks records year after year; last year it was above 54 billion euros. German investors bring their cutting-edge factories to Hungary. I could say that quite a few of the German economy’s most modern factories can be found in Hungary. 6,000 German businesses operate in Hungary, and these six thousand German businesses provide jobs for 300,000 Hungarians. This year alone – up until the middle of August – decisions have been made about 17 major German investments, major new German investments. A year ago, we had talks in Berlin, and at the time we agreed that our ministers of economy would develop cooperation between the two countries according to a joint script. We were pleased to conclude that our respective ministers have successfully completed this job. I wish to thank Minister Palkovics. And today we agreed that also for next year our ministers would compile another timetable in the interest of the development of economic cooperation, primarily in the areas of innovation, high technology and digitisation.
We also spoke about our defence industry cooperation, Ladies and Gentlemen. You must be aware that Hungary is currently in the process of building a post-change-of-regime modern and effective defence force. German military technology plays an important role in the building of this defence force. It has played an important role also to date, and will continue to do so in the future as well. We spoke about the details regarding this and our intentions of cooperation at length.
The issue of the enlargement of the European Union was an important topic of our meeting. You are aware that this is a crucial issue for Hungary as the European Union’s southern borders coincide with Hungary’s southern borders, and we have a vested interest in the Western Balkans becoming a part of the European Union within the shortest possible time. Therefore, Hungary is urging the European Union’s further enlargement, and we always draw particular attention to the fact that Serbia is the key country, and the acceleration of accession talks with Serbia is in the best interests of not only Hungary, but equally of the whole of Europe.
Finally, we reviewed our development cooperation implemented in Africa where we take the common view that help must be taken where there is trouble, and we must improve Africa’s population retaining capacity. To this end, we are financing and running joint programmes in Africa.
On the whole, I have to say that our talks were conducted in a constructive tone and proved to be successful as is worthy of the present celebratory atmosphere. We do not see any future event on the horizon that could disrupt German-Hungarian relations; at the same time, we do see necessities in the world economy that compel us to further strengthen economic cooperation. Therefore, we finished our talks today in the hope that German-Hungarian economic relations will continue to gain in strength.
I would like to thank Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly one more time for having honoured the City of Sopron and Hungary with her presence, and I wish to thank her especially for having done so on the eve of the anniversary of the establishment of our state. Thank you very much.