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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the inauguration of Section II of Béres Pharmaceuticals Zrt.

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to welcome you all. Before I deliver a kind of formal speech, I would like to reflect on some of the thoughts we’ve just heard.

First of all, I would like to thank Kevin for being with us here today. Obviously he doesn’t quite understand the importance of this, because young people are carefree – and that is how it should be; but for us older people, it is reassuring to see that there are fine, brave and talented young people who will take care of the country’s future. I also wish to welcome Member of Parliament Marika Kállai. You all know that there was a general election six months ago, and here we nominated a new candidate. We have very few candidates – though there are some – who received a greater show of trust from voters than from the party which nominated them; but that is the situation here. We can be confident that she commands particular respect in the city of Szolnok. Thank you very much for being with us today. Before coming here to you I also had talks with Mayor Ferenc Szalay. This is a pleasant way to spend time, but an expensive one – and today was no exception. We talked about the fact that, after all, the development of the city requires some personal guarantees, and it is no secret that we are trying to persuade Mayor Szalay to be so kind as to stand in the city council election next year, and commit himself to continuing to shoulder responsibility for directing the work of the city. And we must always have something to say about the Route 4 highway. I don’t want to bore you with the history of the modern-day Hungarian workers’ movement, but the idea of converting Route 4 into a dual carriageway was first tabled in 1988, when the local Fidesz group was formed in a flat in Orosz György Road on the Széchenyi Housing Estate. Of those who are here today, György Balla was present at that meeting back then. Five members were needed to form the Fidesz group, but there were only four of us; and so as the fifth member we enrolled my little girl – who had been born a few months earlier. This is how the Szolnok Fidesz group came into being. Since then She has given me two grandchildren; that is how fast time flies. So Gyuri [György] was also present there. When we put together our programme in order to present something to the public of the city of Szolnok, Gyuri said that in it we should write that our most important goal is to convert Route 4 into a dual carriageway. That was in 1988. The wheels of justice grind slowly, there is no doubt about that, but we do not know whether they grind finely. Anyway, I have now agreed with the Member of Parliament – because he calls the Government to account on this at every parliamentary group meeting – that by the end of next year we must see a dual carriageway built as far as Szolnok, and that by the end of this parliamentary term we would also like to continue the road as far as Karcag, so that people there also feel that they are part of the country’s bloodstream.

This is my fourth visit here, and this gives me a number of advantages, because I can see first-hand that through the efforts of the Béres Family this company is developing, giving everyone a general feeling of well-being – myself included. On the other hand, as several people here now were also present at my first visit, it has given me the chance to see how much each of them has aged. There’s no doubt that this also seems to be by a fair amount.

Finally, I would like to say a few words about the problem of the supply of workers. In our world, in the world of decision-makers, there are no problem-free moments. So anyone who wants to wake up one morning and find that there is not a single problem awaiting resolution should find themselves a different line of work: in ours, there can be no such thing. All we can do is choose, on any given day, whether we are confronted by a good problem or a bad problem. Well, when people have no jobs, that’s a bad problem; when there are more jobs than people, that’s a good problem. So while of course we speak in critical terms about the unfortunate fact that there are not more people available for work, we shouldn’t forget how much better this state of affairs compares to one in which people who are fit and able to work cannot find jobs. There is a big difference between these two situations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today is World Pharmacists’ Day. We couldn’t possibly find a better way to celebrate it than with the inauguration of the latest development by Béres Pharmaceuticals. It is a great pleasure for me to be here. First of all, I want to thank the Béres family for once again having invited and welcomed us here.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When they look at the history of the Béres family, everyone is struck by the staggering pace at which you work. Here in Szolnok over the past two decades you have implemented developments – this project included – worth a combined total of ten billion forints. The last of these was completed barely a year ago. And we are here today because you have converted a disused food industry plant, and installed in it both production equipment and world-class laboratories.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We all know very well that innovation is the engine of industry. Many times, however, we Hungarians have seen that we were not the ultimate beneficiaries of internationally important discoveries springing from the minds of our compatriots. The success story of the Béres family is a perfect counterexample. You built up a family business on the foundations of a scientific discovery, and from this family business you then went on to create an internationally successful family-owned company. In your company innovation is not just an item in the company’s budget, but a family tradition. And I believe that this is all to the good, because in the keen competition in your market sector – and the competition which also awaits you in the coming years – the only path to success is the development of new products and the updating of existing ones. Distinguished Béres family, if we were to draw conclusions for the national economy from your success, we could say that Hungary needs many more stories like yours. We – the Government and its finance minister – are doing everything we can to enable as many Hungarian family businesses as possible to set out on the same path as the one you have taken. We must help strong Hungarian companies – such as the now internationally active Béres Group – to grow to their full potential and to occupy those positions in the international market that they are capable of occupying.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our hosts work with Hungarian expertise, Hungarian development and Hungarian workers. Any success that bears our colours – red, white and green – is naturally closest to our hearts. This is why the Government provided a non-repayable grant of HUF 1.3 billion for this HUF 3.2 billion development, thanks to which you are able to employ ever more people here in Szolnok.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Honourable Hosts,

Although time flies, you will recall that this spring we had a general election. That was almost six months ago. I made a quick mental list, and I see that since that election your new facility – the Béres family’s new facility here – is the tenth that we have opened. These ten facilities that we have inaugurated within six months represent a total investment cost of almost HUF 65 billion, and the provision of two thousand new jobs. Today the Hungarian economy is growing at an annual rate of between 4 and 5 per cent. In 2010 this number was close to zero. That is where we started from. Employment currently stands at almost 70 per cent, while in 2010 it was not even as high as 55 per cent. Today almost 4.5 million people have jobs, and we are close to full employment. If my memory of the city of Szolnok’s economic figures serves me well, in 2010 unemployment was around 10 to 12 per cent. And, if I’m not mistaken, today it is under 5 per cent – but in fact the Mayor is correcting me, saying that now it is only 4 per cent. When there are 4.5 million people working in Hungary, we will be able to say that we have reached the “dream threshold”. We have, and will have, spare capacity, but when 4.5 million people out of 10 million are in employment, that can be regarded as a dream threshold – even by international standards. I see this as a vindication of our past decisions, which were based on the concept that the future can be built on the foundations of hard work and families.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is no doubt that, after 2010, pulling the country back from the brink of bankruptcy was a major achievement. Today, however, the era of rescuing the country has given way to the era of building the country – including in the economic sense. We now have the opportunity to implement changes in the deep structure of the Hungarian economy which will lay the foundations for the stability of coming decades. Today we no longer have to “shoot from the hip”. That was not yet the case in 2010. Today we have the time to take careful aim. This is why the Ministry of Innovation and Technology came into being. But what is it that we should aim at? We should aim at increasing Hungarian-owned businesses’ share of Hungarian exports by at least 50 per cent of what it is today. I’m not arguing against the need for international investors. In order for the Hungarian economy to grow at a rate of between 4 and 6 per cent, we also need large international corporations. But we cannot rely on them exclusively. The crisis showed that when the market crashes, everyone takes their money home. Large international companies also have homes of their own, and when things go badly in the world, everyone supports their own people back in their home countries. This is understandable – although it hardly helps us. This phenomenon leaves us vulnerable if we don’t have strong Hungarian businesses which are also successful abroad. Every self-respecting country which seeks to strengthen its economy also seeks to favour its own industry. This is because, as you yourselves have experienced, on the global market at any time there can be devastating storms: storms which are able not only to bring companies to the brink of ruin, but also entire countries. We will be able to fight our way through these storms, which always return sooner or later, if among the companies which keep our national economy going there are also Hungarian companies of sufficient strength. So the Hungarian economy will be secure when in Hungary the proportion of Hungarian companies and businesses exceeds that of international companies. This will not happen overnight. We will be strong when most jobs are created by Hungarian companies. This is already the case in Hungary: Hungarians provide jobs for the majority of Hungarians. But we also need the majority of developments and projects to be here in Hungary, we need these developments and projects to be implemented by Hungarians, and we need Hungarians to be able to gain a foothold on foreign markets; as a consequence of this, the majority of tax revenue paid into Minister Mihály Varga’s budget should come from Hungarians. To cut a long story short, for the Hungarian economy to remain stable we need substantial Hungarian companies which are on a par with large international companies. A key role in this is played by the Béres family, their business, and other Hungarian companies like them.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would also like to say a few words about the pharmaceuticals industry in general. This industry is an excellent field for innovation and development. In this sector we Hungarians have an illustrious record, and the names of our renowned Hungarian chemists are known the world over. And we also have strong companies which are internationally recognised. Today in Hungary the pharmaceuticals industry provides jobs for 14,000 people, and indirectly provides support for some 34,000 families. Every fifth developer and researcher in the processing sector works in the pharmaceuticals industry, and the industry is responsible for every fifth forint spent on research and development in Hungary. This is 20 per cent of the national economy’s entire spending on research.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Therefore the pharmaceuticals industry is one of the Hungarian economy’s driving sectors, and is also its most innovative area. We would like it to grow further, and for companies in the pharmaceuticals industry to form the lion’s share of overall economic growth. We have therefore set the following goals. The industry’s contribution to total gross national product – which today stands at 6 per cent – should increase to 8 per cent. We would like the export output of this industry to increase by 10 per cent. We would like the pharmaceuticals industry’s share of research and development within the processing sector to at least remain at the current level, with the overall sector increasing significantly. And something which is particularly important for the future is the promotion of dual training in this industry, because – as we heard from our host – the greatest assets in this industry are highly qualified specialists.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Within the pharmaceuticals industry the Government sees strategic partners in pharmacists – who, as I’ve said, are today celebrating the world day of their profession. God bless them and everyone who works in the Hungarian pharmaceuticals industry.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Finally, allow me to once more congratulate everyone who has played a role – either intellectual or physical – in the creation of this facility. I congratulate the designers and engineers, and I congratulate the tradespeople and labourers who have worked here. I wish the Béres family strength, good health and further success. May the future of Hungary be built by as many such successful families as is possible.

Thank you for your attention.