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Speech by Viktor Orbán at the inauguration ceremony for the new Apollo Tyres production plant

Let me welcome all of you wholeheartedly here in Hungary. Please allow me to speak Hungarian taking into consideration the circumstance that we are in Hungary now. So, I would like to welcome all of you.

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Allow me to welcome our guests from abroad – in particular those from India, but not only our Indian guests; as is customary in Hungary, I would like to extend my most respectful and warmest welcome to the head of the family. For now we are inaugurating an investment by a large family business. Every member of a family is equally important, but a family can only be safe and secure and confident about their future if the head of the family knows exactly what he is doing. It is important for us that your company, Apollo, has not only brought capital to Hungary, but the capital of a family business; in so doing, you have also brought to us the culture of the family: the culture of the management of the family business. So I especially wish to welcome the head of the Kanwar Family.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a business event, yet I have to say that the unexpected world political and world security developments that took place last night underline the significance of security and order. I would like to reassure you, and also the Kanwar Family, that whether it is the issue of war, the arms race, peace or migration, for Hungary the top priority is always for the people living here and the businesses operating here to be safe and secure; and in this respect we are not prepared to make any compromises.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Naturally, looking at it from India’s point of view, Hungary appears to be a small country. We, however, do not see ourselves in that light. The lens through which we see things tends to focus more on our greatness. Without doubt, the greatness of the Hungarians is not so much a matter of size, but more a question of spirit. But this is important for us. Our greatness finds its embodiment in quality, and it is therefore important for us, Esteemed Kanwar Family, that here we are not welcoming just another project, but one of the world’s most modern projects: an investment of the highest standards, an investment we may be proud of both in terms of its spirit and its quality. This is important for us Hungarians. This is not an assembly facility, ad this does not simply employ conventional technology: here we are welcoming an investment which sets out to create one of the world’s most modern factories, and, in the form of a factory, to embody the quality of spirit which we Hungarians are so proud of.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In tomorrow’s news reports you will perhaps read that a foreign project has been opened in Hungary. I would like to correct these news reports in advance. I would like to inform you that the Hungarian government has succeeded in forging a cooperation with the Kanwar Family which is based on the foundations of trust; as a result of this I can tell you, Ladies and Gentlemen, that the Kanwar Family are not foreigners, and they are not foreign investors in Hungary. You have become part of the great family that is the Hungarian people, and therefore in the context of this investment we should welcome you to the great family of the Hungarian people.

Two years ago, almost to the day, I had the opportunity to stand here, together with you, when we laid the factory’s foundation stone. We announced that, as a result of our agreement, the factory to be built here would provide a living for some one thousand families. As you say in India, the lion sometimes looks back, but meanwhile keeps moving forward; and if we look back over these past two years, we can see that we have spent them in a spirit of mutual respect and trust. A degree of genuine and sincere appreciation has developed between the Hungarian government, local people and the Kanwar Family. Therefore Apollo Tyres is not simply a project that is important for the Hungarian national economy, but it provides an equally important moment in the lives of those living here: the residents of Heves County and the Hungarians living in the region. I would like to repeat what the Vice Chairman said, so that we can focus on it with the attention it deserves. This factory is the first greenfield project outside India by this company – Apollo Tyres. The Hungarians did not win this opportunity like a lottery prize: it was not blown our way by luck. The Kanwar Family carefully evaluated the opportunities available in Europe, and chose Hungary for the implementation of their first greenfield investment outside India. This decision is also an expression of faith in the future of the Hungarian people. Consequently, while it is their decision, it is about our future. They see our future – the future of the Hungarian people – as one within which it makes sense to bring here their first greenfield investment outside India.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we have seen, the factory has goals which are ambitious – we might even call them grand. The location for these ambitious plans is a Hungarian settlement: the settlement of Gyöngyöshalász, whose mayor I would also like to greet.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have always wanted the businesses which come to Hungary to be ones which do not see us as simply a market, and which do not simply want to set  up simple assembly facilities here, but which want to bring here genuine production projects which also increase the level of expertise within the Hungarian economy. The investment which we are inaugurating here today is worth 475 million euros: 147 billion forints. By fully exploiting the opportunities offered by European regulations, the Hungarian government has contributed some 16 billion forints to this sum. We did so, Ladies and Gentlemen, because we took the view that Hungarian taxpayers’ money will generate a fair return here – not only in simple terms of business profits, but in terms of expertise, culture and the establishment of a strong factory that supports the local community.

Esteemed Kanwar Family,

I believe that if two mind-sets focused on the future come together, this can easily lead to joint success. I am convinced that the Hungarian economy has the potential for success if over the next few years it is able to develop close cooperation with partners such as you. For us it is important that you have a vested interest not only in your own factory’s success, but also in the success of the Hungarian national economy, and in Hungary. This is why I say that in 2010, when we opened a new chapter in the history of the Hungarian economy, we set ourselves the goal of creating one million new jobs over a period of ten years. I say to our Indian friends that in a country of ten million this is a significant figure. Seven years have passed, and we now have seven hundred thousand new jobs; and so in proportional terms we are progressing well. However, this figure also shows that we have no reason to stop, and in order to achieve our ten-year targets we must continue to give people jobs instead of benefits, while continuously reducing taxes on employment.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we are a country of highly-qualified pessimists, you may perhaps also remember how many people in this country said seven years ago that eastward opening was a hopeless enterprise, as capital and growth are always in the West. Listening carefully to the words spoken before me by the Chairman and Vice Chairman, we could feel the global, historic wind of change manifest in the increasing tendency towards world economic dominance by whatever is to the east of us. India is one of the best examples of this. I wish to thank Minister Szijjártó for persistently standing by the policy of eastward opening, in consequence of which investments such as this have come to Hungary – and will continue to come in the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Hungary’s ambitious goal is to remain Central Europe’s engine of production, and Apollo Tyres is one of the cylinders in this engine. I believe that we are on the right track: this factory will manufacture 5.5 million tyres for cars and vans, and 675,000 tyres for trucks for the European market. I would also like to thank the factory’s managers for having started in a timely manner the training of the experts they require. If my information is correct, as many as around four hundred highly-qualified engineers and technicians are being employed in this factory. This is important not only for local people – and the cooperation entered into with the University of Miskolc is likewise not only important for Miskolc and you. This is about the need to set the Hungarian economy on the foundations of dual vocational training: we must enter into long-term vocational training cooperation programmes with companies like yours, so that we may build our new vocational training system. Step by step, factory by factory, this will create a future for young Hungarians who wish to work. I sincerely hope that when this factory starts operations, you can be proud of the specialists, the Hungarian specialists who will work in this factory.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When in 2015 we laid the foundation stone for this factory, we forged an alliance between the Indian investors, the Hungarian government and the people of Gyöngyöshalász and its surroundings. We all have a vested interest in making this alliance a success. This is equally in the best interests of the people working here, the owners, shareholders and the Hungarian national economy. I am certain that Apollo Tyres will cause the Hungarian national economy and Hungary many pleasant surprises. In itself this company is an important foundation stone of Hungary’s unique competitiveness. I wish to thank the Kanwar Family for showing faith in us, for having forged an alliance with us, and for providing the opportunity to plan the future together.

God bless us all!