Warsaw (MTI) – The future of Europe lies in the Visegrad Four (V4) grouping of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at an innovation conference in Warsaw on Tuesday.
Orbán was joined at the CEE Innovators Summit by his V4 counterparts.
The prime minister said he expects the “centre of gravity” of European development to gradually shift from western to central Europe.
He argued that the social and ethnic makeup of western European countries was changing, which he said was a disadvantage. Central European countries on the other hand “protect” themselves from this, Orbán said, adding that “this is a major advantage for us”.
He said the V4 countries still have solid cultural foundations, meaning that they have stayed true to their Christian roots. Orbán also argued that in central Europe the kind of people who get ahead are those who prove themselves as opposed to those who try to “beat the system”. This is why central European countries will not turn into “welfare-based” societies, he said. Instead, central European countries are building labour-based societies, the prime minister added, arguing that this, too, was a considerable advantage for central Europe.
“If Europe has a future, then it is primarily in central Europe,” Orbán said, arguing that western Europe had “baggage” which it would have a hard time dealing with.
He said he expected that in a matter of years, the V4 would be referred to as “Europe’s strongest engine of growth”.
Orbán praised the V4 cooperation saying that he believes the four countries are capable of renewing European democracy and the European Union as a whole.
Regarding Hungary, Orbán said that although the country had emerged from a financial crisis, its GDP growth rate is currently around 3 percent, adding that this level of growth was not sufficient enough for Hungary to become a highly developed country. In order to become a highly developed country from a moderately developed one, Hungary will have to achieve an annual growth rate of around 5 percent, Orbán said, adding that this would require innovation and a new line of economic thinking.
Photo: Balázs Szecsõdi
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