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Speech by Viktor Orbán at the ceremony launching the renewal of the Szeged-Subotica/Szabadka railway line

President Vučić, Distinguished Government Ministers, People of Horgos, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank President Vučić for inviting me here today. We find ourselves in a strange situation: we want to renovate a 150-year-old railway line, but in fact we are laying a foundation stone. Why do we call this a foundation stone ceremony? Because this is a symbol: it symbolises the fact that Serbs and Hungarians have started to build a new future. With President Vučić we have concluded agreements guaranteeing that Serbs and Hungarians will be the winners of this future, and will be winners together. The first realisation is that we are stronger together. The second realisation is that we need to strengthen our relations. The third – and this is why we met in Budapest a month ago – is the need to forge strategic cooperation and conclude an alliance agreement. The storm of history has cut the Szeged-Subotica/Szabadka railway line in two, with the inhabitants of both cities losing a great deal, and the railway line becoming a complete irrelevance. And, dear people of Horgos, I remember that here, six years ago, thousands of illegal migrants were marching along the tracks towards Hungary and Europe. The line had to be closed, and finally services were suspended. This is a peculiarly Central European story: in imperial centres, far away from us, they dream up something and then try to impose it on us; and then we pay the price for it all.

People of Horgos,

Speaking for Hungary, I can tell you that foreign powers have never brought anything here but war and unrest. What has come from outside has divided us, brought us failure, decline and conflict. The time has come for us to take control of our own destiny.

People of Horgos,

Here we have a Schengen border, but the external border of the European Union should not be here. The border of the European Union should be further down south, and Serbians should be able to travel to Hungary and Europe without passport controls. We all know that Serbia is the gateway to the Balkans and the key state for the security of Europe. The truth is that Serbia has been ready for EU accession for years. Soon the question will be whether it still wants to join – or whether there still exists something for it to join. Here, too, I would like to make it clear to you that Hungary is a committed supporter of Serbia. This project has a bigger brother: with President Vučić we are working on construction of the Budapest-Belgrade rail corridor, and we are determined to see the Baja-Subotica/Szabadka line built in the near future. But that is all part of the wider realm of politics. What is important for your lives here and now is that we will build this railway line, enabling you to be in Szeged in 35 minutes, and the people of Szeged to be in Subotica/Szabadka in 35 minutes. And we are also working to ensure that this can be done with the simplest border controls, because in the end the point of politics is to serve the interests of the people who live here.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the Serbs and Hungarians who have been involved in the preparation of this development; and I wish the very best to the Serbs and Hungarians who will work on it. On behalf of Hungary, I express my great appreciation to the people of Horgos, to the people of Serbia and to President Vučić.