In his address delivered at the inauguration ceremony of the building and completed modules of the Lynx armoured fighting vehicle factory in Zalaegerszeg, the Prime Minister highlighted that the Hungarian people know only too well that the best kind of war is the one that we manage to avoid.
“We learnt from Bismarck at the end of the 19th century that the stronger we are, the lesser the chances of a war.” And the Iron Chancellor was right: the stronger we are, the lesser the chances of us getting involved in a war, Mr Orbán said.
He added that therefore “when we build an army,” “we naturally prepare for the worst, but in actual fact we also open the way for a bright future”.
Mr Orbán recalled that he had stated earlier that security would be the most important sector in this decade. In light of this, the most important task in this decade is “to ensure that we have at our disposal a defence force that is capable of defending Hungary, that is able to enforce the Hungarian interests, and that can be readily deployed in Hungary, but if necessary also beyond,” he stated.
He said Hungary needs a technological standard that points beyond all former standards, a standard that is “symbolised by ZalaZONE in the vicinity, and this arms factory here”.
He pointed out that while German-Hungarian relations are “erratic,” “we sincerely hope they will now be ironed out”. The political situation is complicated; however, economic relations are excellent, and now it seems that we will also be able to secure political support behind this ever more intensive economic cooperation, he concluded.
He took the view that this is important for Hungary not only because Germany is strong, but also “because the Hungarians know how to cooperate with the Germans”.
According to the Prime Minister, the factory now inaugurated has become a new benchmark for the Hungarian army because “we need soldiers who are as good as our equipment is”. This is a major task for the ten years ahead for the Hungarian government of the day and for Hungary, he pointed out.
He also said “first, you purchase things, and then you realise that it would be better to make them,” and “we’re now in that phase”. But “we wouldn’t like to stop here,” it would be best if we could also take care of development, testing and the training of the best engineers and workers together “with our German friends,” he said.
In continuation, he highlighted that in response to the Ukraine-Russia war, in recent months the German government has adopted one of the most important decisions as regards the future of Europe. It cannot have been an easy decision because it is about the rearming of Germany, but as war has broken out and “it is clear that the peace and security of Europe cannot be guaranteed without the Germans,” a big change has finally taken place and the German defence industry has become one of the most important industries, he explained.
He said this is a new reality which “offers us an enormous opportunity”. However, Hungarian-German cooperation already began when this industry “was more of a tolerated sector,” and this offers a good chance of making this cooperation lasting, he said.
The Prime Minister said thank you to everyone whose work made the realisation of this factory possible.
“Next Sunday, make sure you don’t stay at home,” Mr Orbán said in conclusion.
Rheinmetall Chairman Armin Papperger recalled that they first started negotiations with the Hungarian government three and a half years ago, and “very clear structures were outlined”. At the meetings conducted with Mr Orbán, they laid down that our peoples and countries must be defended, and for this we need defence capabilities and national sovereignty.
The first goal of the cooperation was to implement a project, the result of which is Rheinmetall’s Zalaegerszeg factory where “within three months, we will open a production line manufacturing the world’s most modern military armoured vehicles”. First, Lynx armoured fighting vehicles will be made in Zalaegerszeg, the German company’s chairman pointed out.
He said the world has changed in the past three weeks, and they also negotiated with the German government about the fact that “this project is absolutely essential”.
Mr Papperger added that the company’s other projects in Hungary include the construction of an ammunition factory with which they are making good progress “as we will need far more ammunition and explosives”.
The inauguration of the Zalaegerszeg armoured vehicle factory was attended, among others, by Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics, Defence Minister Tibor Benkő, Government Commissioner for Defence Developments Gáspár Maróth and commander of the Hungarian Defence Forces Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi.