Honourable Speaker, Honourable Former President Pál Schmitt, Honourable Former Prime Minister Péter Boros, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is the third occasion since 2010 that I have stood before you to introduce the members of a new Hungarian government. When I swore the prime-ministerial oath one week ago, I said that I see the twenty years between 2010 and 2030 as a single period – and that when in 2010 the will of the electorate enabled us to return to government I also saw them as a unit, and not as divided into four-year terms. After all, one may only lead a country if our plans are framed in the long term. After eight years we can say that it is not only the Hungarian government that has entered the new era with the will to act, with courage and with the appetite for renewal, but also the Hungarian people. We must thank those businesspeople who over the past eight years have created more than half a million new jobs. We must thank those Hungarians who in the midst of hardship and after difficult years of unemployment grasped the opportunity to once again support themselves and their families through work. Respect is due to those in the public works programme, because with their work they have also contributed to making the country stronger. We must express our recognition for the hundreds of thousands of young people who have embarked on building families, as it is thanks to them that Hungary has a future. And we must also thank our compatriots from the older generation, who raised the actively working generation of the present day. They have given us the chance for Hungary to do better today. They also deserve our thanks because a large majority of them have supported us in our political battles.
In early 2010, on the threshold of the new era, the nations which were prospering were those which looked not backwards, but forwards. We can be proud of the fact that, as a result of Hungarians’ joint efforts, Hungary today has become such a country. Today Hungary and Central Europe constitute the European Union’s most rapidly developing region. Europe’s economic centre of gravity is gradually shifting eastwards. In 1990 Europe was still our future; but today we are Europe’s future.
Honourable Fellow Members of Parliament,
I must once more point out to you that it has been a long time since the stars were as favourably aligned above our homeland as they are now. We now have the opportunity to strike out in new directions; and we must do this, because even after an encouraging first eight years, we are still only halfway towards completion of the work. We have been engaged in radical transformations, fierce battles and arduous work; but a new era, a new technological age has begun, which will demand from us an even more courageous spirit of renewal and even more change, and I have had to adjust the structure and composition of the new government to address this challenge. We can all see that the new era’s trials of strength are not only technological, but that we must also face up to threats of a security and spiritual nature. Mass population movement and mass migration will threaten Europe for many years. Tens of millions of people are poised to set off to seek new homes in the territory of Europe. Therefore today we need the strengthening of defence capabilities, the steadfast guarding of borders and the cool-headed management of security risks. Since the reign of our king Saint Stephen of Hungary, our statehood of one thousand years has rested on Christian foundations. The threat of migration and the appearance of masses of people from cultures which are foreign to us has also increased awareness of the Christian foundations of our culture – even among those who have distanced themselves from religion. As I see it, the Government is not defending articles of faith: although they are important, that is not the business of the Government; it is, however, our business to guard those ways of life which spring from Christian articles of faith. Therefore we defend human dignity, the family, faith communities and the nation. If all this is reduced to the interests of a minority, then it will simultaneously mean the end of Europe and the loss of one thousand years of Hungarian statehood. Therefore we believe that on the threshold of the new era it is our duty to defend our Christian culture, and to run our schools and honour our forebears in accordance with this philosophy.
On 8 April the Fidesz-KDNP alliance won the trust of the electorate. It is right that I should also publically declare to the country that we have always looked upon ourselves as a political community of comrades-in-arms, and not as a party of politicians competing with one another. In 1998 we received more than 1.5 million votes; in 2014 more than 2 million votes; and in 2010 and this year we received 2.8 million votes. Our political community is enormous, and it is little wonder that it has become the major force in Hungary. Our supporters are present in every settlement of the country; among our numbers are leaders of cities of county rank, Budapest districts, cities, smaller towns, villages and counties. I am talking about many hundreds of people shouldering the responsibility of leadership. Fourteen of us stand here before you as members of the new government. In my three former governments – the first formed in 1998 – there have been fifty-nine ministers: from Zoltán Rockenbauer to Zoltán Balog; from Zsigmond Járai to György Matolcsy; from Tamás Fellegi to Miklós Seszták. And I haven’t even mentioned the hundreds of state secretaries. Therefore I can modestly point out that among them the number of people with the dedication, experience and readiness to serve would be enough to form several governments. The people we ask to join the Cabinet as ministers, and when we ask them, is always determined by the tasks the country faces: buttons are chosen for the coat, not vice versa. We always offer work, and never simply positions. The people who stand before you today are those whose ministerial appointments are justified by the tasks the country faces.
Honourable House, Honourable Speaker,
While every government has people with different qualifications, talents and characters, I have always sought to ensure that Hungary’s ministers are people who share a common passion: that passion is Hungary. Therefore, now also, I have sought to serve together with people who all believe that the greatest thing in our lives is that we were born Hungarian. It is also necessary for members of the Government to be brave people who are prepared to take part in intellectual, professional and political debates. We must stand our ground when attacked, but we must bear in mind that a debate can never be an end in itself: the goal is for the debate to end with a good result. And for that there is only one yardstick: a Hungary of increasing strength and performance. I would also like to point out that our government is one with a European perspective. We will serve the nation, but our place is in Europe. In the course of their work I ask my ministers to strive for friendly relations with the nations of Europe. For us Hungary comes first, but through our work we also want to strengthen Europe.
The minister-delegates attended hearings in the relevant parliamentary committees, which returned clear majorities in support of the appointment of each one. On behalf of my ministers, I thank Members of Parliament for their trust. I have asked Andrea Bártfai-Mager to be Minister for National Assets. After 1990 Hungary suffered a major loss of assets. After eight years of hard work we have re-acquired a great many of those assets. It will be the Minister’s responsibility to shape Hungary’s asset management strategy, and to preserve and operate our strategic assets. I wish you well in following in the footsteps of your illustrious predecessor, President Ferenc Mádl. Welcome to the Government!
Minister Sándor Pintér is responsible for the security of us all. Thank you for having restored the prestige of the Hungarian police. You have been indefatigable and unyielding when we needed to protect the borders. From now on you will work in the Government as Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, and also as Head of the National Security Cabinet. I wish you every success, Minister.
Professor Miklós Kásler will bear a special responsibility. A successful Hungary needs educated, healthy Hungarians of strong character. For this the Ministry must be led by a Renaissance man – and one who is not afraid of his own shadow. Overseeing, coordinating and directing the machinery of such an enormous ministry is a testing task, which not many would readily commit to. Thank you for agreeing to do just that. I wish you every success, Minister.
Minister Tibor Benkő has been promoted from Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces to Defence Minister. We must now address decades of serious underperformance, at a time when neighbouring countries’ armed forces are far more advanced than ours. It is still not too late, and perhaps we can still catch up with them. I am convinced that there are enormous reserves within the officer corps. We ask the Minister to bring these to the surface, and we wish you much strength and good health in your work.
In my government I will continue to count on Minister János Süli as Minister for enlargement of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant. Enlargement of the Nuclear Power Plant is essential to preserve reductions in household utility bills and to increase the competitiveness of Hungarian businesses through cheap energy. Thank you, Minister, for accepting my invitation again. I wish you every success in your work.
It will be the responsibility of Minister László Trócsányi to protect the country’s sovereignty in the field of the law – particularly European law. We must also evaluate the functioning of the new Fundamental Law and the new judicial system which we created at the beginning of the decade. The Minister will have some busy years ahead. I wish you every success in your work.
Honourable Fellow Members of Parliament, Honourable Speaker,
The firm, principled approach of the President of the Christian Democrats – Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén – will also be a valuable contribution to the new government. He will be responsible for the anchor line which during our practical work prevents us drifting further than we should from our ideological starting points. I thank him for the work he has accomplished in the interest of reunifying the Hungarian nation across borders. In the coming years I will rely on his work as Deputy Prime Minister and as the Head of the Cabinet for National Strategy. I wish you every success, Minister.
In the new government Minister Mihály Varga will serve as Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister heading the Cabinet for National Economy. I ask you to always remind us to cut our coat according to our cloth. What we expect from you is financial stability, a predictable budget, a low budget deficit and falling government debt. Thank you for the possibility of working with you again. I wish you every success.
In the new government Minister László Palkovics has been given the tasks of innovation and technological renewal. We have not had such a ministry before in the history of the Government or economy of Hungary. We have created the Ministry of Innovation and Technology because in the new, so-called “technological” era we, too, want to be winners. It is no longer enough for the Hungarian economy to adapt: we must also be at the forefront in the creative and adaptive adoption of new technologies. A momentous task awaits Minister Palkovics, but it is encouraging that in his career to date he has recorded fine achievements both in academia and business. Welcome to the Government, Minister.
We are entrusting one of the most important core sectors – Hungarian agriculture – to Minister István Nagy. Hungarian land has supported the Hungarian people for a thousand years. We must preserve it and pass it on to the next generation. We look forward to policy which values farmers, rewards hard work, is open to new technologies, reconciles different types of agricultural businesses and also defends our interests in Brussels. The Minister has already proved his worth as a state secretary; we now place our trust in his success as a minister. Thank you for accepting my invitation.
One of the dangers of the modern age is the hollowing out of democracy. You can see how in many European countries the distance between the people and their democratically elected governments increases day by day. Minister Antal Rogán will be responsible for ensuring that this does not happen to us in Hungary. I ask him to persevere in finding points of consensus between the people and the Government. I wish you every success in your work.
In the past few years Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó has had to stand his ground in complex and difficult situations. There will be no shortage of these in the future either. Hungary needs independent foreign policy that represents our national interests, as well as effective foreign trade policy amidst international economic competition. In international relations the greatest assets are continuity and knowledge of the terrain, and for years Hungary has seen you as the embodiment of these values. I wish you every success in the next four years as well.
Honourable House, Honourable Speaker,
Old counsellors, young warriors. This is why I have asked Minister Gergely Gulyás to join my government, to be in charge of strategic planning. Therefore he will not only have to oversee ministries, but an entire country. I expect him to coordinate the functioning of ministries and to maintain a culture of respect and cooperation: to develop the necessary techniques for this. This ministry also serves as the Government’s “lightning rod”. Therefore I ask you to courageously represent the Government’s arguments in intellectual debates concerning Hungary, both at home and abroad. Go for it!
Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that being a member of a government is both a mission and a service. Therefore on behalf of the Government I promise you that we shall serve the nation loyally and, even in times of difficulty, cherish our country without reservation. We have been given a great opportunity, and we know that we must accept it with great humility.
Soli Deo gloria!