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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the reopening of the Niš branch of OTP Bank

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to welcome Chairman Csányi and Prime Minister Vučić. To tell you the truth, Sándor, today’s opening of this branch has come at a good time for us. We have come here to southern Serbia at the Prime Minister’s invitation, to convince Hungarian businesses that it is well worth looking beyond Belgrade, and that Serbian-Hungarian economic relations must not be limited to those between Belgrade and Budapest or Vojvodina and Budapest, but should be extended to the entire Serbian economy. And today we have tried to convince businesses – we have here some 90 Hungarian entrepreneurs – that they should adopt a similar mentality. We have made some quite good speeches about this, if I may say so, and I believe that we made a quite convincing case. But the truth is that in business words do not count for much. So the opening of this branch has come at a good time for us because it serves as proof: it is proof that there is more than just hot air behind this; it is proof that our Serbian friends are likewise not just dealing in platitudes when they say that they welcome Hungarian investors here. I am also not just talking hot air when I say that we encourage Hungarian investors to also come to southern Serbia. One could see this branch opening as a moment which symbolises the policy objective of Serbia and Hungary to cooperate as closely as possible in the economy field. So we wish to thank OTP for undertaking and realising this investment. We wish you, OTP, the best of luck here in Serbia.

I shall not deny, Prime Minister, that OTP’s ownership structure is rather complex, and it is both large and international. But it is headquartered in Budapest, and therefore we look upon OTP as a Hungarian bank, and in it we also see a manifestation and realisation of Hungarian pride and talent. I believe that for a country the size of Hungary it has been quite an achievement to establish, manage and operate a bank which is now a worthy rival for the domestic banks of as many as eight or nine countries. This is a great achievement, a remarkable result: a Hungarian achievement, and we are proud of it. Consequently, OTP is one of the symbols of our national pride.

And we sincerely hope that you will be able to use this symbol of our national pride to build the Serbian economy in a way which is equally good for the Bank’s owners and managers, for Serbian businesses, and for Serbian retail customers. So I wish you the best of luck with the Serbian government’s economic policy, I wish you luck with the operation of OTP here, and may both OTP and its Hungarian and Serbian customers be able to invest ever larger sums of money here, in Serbia. Once again, congratulations on the opening of this branch.