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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at a gala evening marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of Pick Szeged Zrt. and the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Bonafarm Group

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen,

Having heard the family stories told just now, please allow me to begin by wishing the current owners somewhat more luck than that.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, thank you for the invitation. One is rarely invited to a double birthday celebration – let alone for two such illustrious and successful enterprises. Protocol dictates that we should first salute the older of these. Well, we’ve already heard almost everything about the history of Pick Szeged. And indeed, what more can one say about 150 years of success? Ladies and Gentlemen, perhaps we can say that success is something that one can and must work for each and every day. This is no doubt how the factory’s managers must have thought. This is how it was able to survive and recover after two world wars, economic crises, nationalisation under communism, and then the period after the fall of communism. If I’m not mistaken, the reason things happened as they did is that Pick was never led by people who took their success for granted: they always knew – as do those who work here now – that success is something which needs to be worked for every single day. And they also knew that they should add something to success without in any way damaging the very basis of that success. Sensible leaders know that timely warnings are priceless – and they even appreciate contributions from employees and colleagues who dare to voice sharp criticism, in the interest of the company’s success. One story, for instance, tells of how Jenő Pick once tried to poke his nose into the manufacturing process. In response, the master salami chef Szilard Szokolay said: “Direct the office, Mr. Jenő; down here I am the one who gives the orders!”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Perhaps we should also say a few words here about the people of Szeged, because for Pick they created a secure home – something which every successful enterprise needs. Pick would not exist today without the people of Szeged. I salute your longstanding loyalty.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

What can one say about these 150 years? May there be another 150. And this is where the other birthday boy, Bonafarm, links to the story of Pick: in 2009 Bonafarm lent new impetus to one of Hungary’s oldest and most prestigious companies. Compared with Pick, it is only a colt, but its results deserve recognition. Thirty years have passed since socialism breathed its last, and here is a modern, innovative, Hungarian-owned group of companies which has now grown beyond the country’s borders. We have waited for such a company in the Hungarian food industry for a long time. We Hungarians have excellent agricultural land, we understand animal husbandry, and there is something of the farmer in every Hungarian. But for these talents to also be embodied in finished products, there is a need for Hungarian companies which possess the culture that is essential in the food industry. And Bonafarm is just such a company, providing a solid background for two “Hungarikum” products: Pick and Herz salami. For this we thank the owners, executives, employees and staff members at Bonafarm.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s no secret that leaders tend to observe one another: sometimes to obtain information; sometimes because they enjoy the experience of bosses locking horns; and sometimes out of jealousy or envy. I observe successful managers in the hope of learning something from them that I could use in my own work. This is why for many years I’ve followed Sándor Csányi’s work, looking to learn from him. I believe that I’ve discovered the key to his success as a leader – and perhaps I’m the only person to have done so. He’s one of the few people who realise that the rocks thrown at them are not worth throwing back: a wiser approach is to build stairs from them. To do this, of course, you need strong nerves, self-discipline, guile and patience, because it’s easier said than done. From what I see, the rocks thrown at him from all directions have made him stronger, and have also taken his businesses further forward. If it will take Hungary forward, I’ll try to imitate him; because they’re throwing plenty our way, and so there’s always something to build with.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The story of Pick is the best proof that Hungarian capital must serve and represent national interests. If it is Hungarian, capital must also follow the logic of national responsibility. We Hungarians represent just 0.2 per cent of the world’s population, our capital city has been put under siege around fifty times within one thousand years, and so the country’s accumulated wealth has been taken away from us one way or another every two or three generations. So if you’re Hungarian you must keep your wits about you, and you mustn’t just think of yourself – you must also help your country. We must keep our wits about us in the economy, because we can see that while 90 per cent of food companies are wholly Hungarian-owned enterprises which account for 70 per cent of employment in the sector, they produce only half of the sector’s revenue and profits. It is in the national interest for Hungarian companies to have a decisive share of the domestic food industry’s sales and profits by 2030. And it is also in the national interest for well capitalised Hungarian businesses to operate outside Hungary’s borders, to be muscular and strong, to use the economic potential of the region, Europe and the whole world. Then they can enrich Hungary.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Finally, I wish further success, strength and perseverance to the large corporate family of Pick and Bonafarm. Through you I wish much success to the whole of Hungary. In fifty years’ time may the Prime Minister of Hungary’s national government stand here and celebrate Pick Szeged’s 200th and Bonafarm’s 60th birthday with the workers and the people of Szeged.

May God grant that this comes to pass.