Orbán said that in spite of the crisis, Hungarian investment capital abroad had been “turbo-charged”. He noted the government decision to ensure that whatever profits are repatriated by foreign companies operating in Hungary should be matched by the repatriation of profits by Hungarian companies operating abroad.
Read the previous part of Viktor Orbán’s speech in THIS article.
“Only this way can Hungarian economy be kept in balance,” he said, noting new foreign investments by oil and gas company MOL and OTP Bank among others.
Meanwhile, the prime minister referred to the continuation of support schemes for Hungarian communities abroad, noting that the government has built 170 kindergartens in neighbouring countries and renovated 790.
Orbán told supporters that during the crisis, too, Hungary had eschewed “the recipes of Brussels” in favour of its “own path”. Referring to central bank governor György Matolcsy and finance minister Mihály Varga, he said Hungary had adopted “the Matolcsy-Varga cure” for relaunching the economy. Rather than stepping on the brakes, economic policy overtook in a corner, he said.
Orbán said that notwithstanding the risks, the country’s economic growth had reached 7 percent amid the pandemic in 2021. The public debt, meanwhile, was kept below 80 percent of GDP and was on course to fall to 77 percent by year-end, he added.
The prime minister chided the left wing for not voting for legal measures to protect against Covid-19, adding that the opposition had also failed to vote for the credit moratorium, the increased minimum wage, the family tax rebate, tax relief for workers below the age of 25, and other tax cuts.
The Gyurcsány-Bajnai government, he added, had done the opposite to the current government in a crisis, abolishing the 13-month pension and home-building schemes, as well as the family tax credit, among others, while introducing a fee for visiting the GP and hospitals.
Meanwhile, surveying foreign policy, the prime minister noted that Hungary was “surrounded by unstable regions”, including the Western Balkans.
Reassuring the Balkans was a simple matter, he said, arguing for the rapid EU accession of western Balkan countries and an “EU Marshall Plan”. Orbán added that it was “a shame” that none of this was happening.
Orbán said Hungary was now stronger and would not sit on the side-lines while “the great powers” enacted “bad policies” and “caused damage” to its neighbouring region.
“Neither Berlin nor Brussels can go against the Hungarians when it comes to Balkan policy, and they can’t go without us either. We won’t accept decisions made in Brussels that are contrary to Hungary’s interests.”
Orbán said Hungary had an interest in “peace, economic development, and in the region becoming a part of the EU”.
On the subject of the Russia-Ukraine standoff, Orbán said that given Hungary’s size, as well as its military and economic strength, its influence on relations between the EU, the West and Russia was limited, but the government had made clear that it considered the EU’s strategy to be “flawed” and sanctions against Russia “a dead end”.
Europe would remain “anemic” without economic cooperation with Russia, he said, adding that handing Chinese a huge economic advantage would be a “strategic mistake”.
Orbán said that in the face of the EU’s unyielding foreign policy, the government had developed a Hungarian model based on membership of NATO and the EU, while maintaining balanced political and economic relations with Russia.
“Hungary may lack a nuclear-powered icebreaker” he said, “but a pickaxe … can be enough to bring about common sense.”
Regarding Hungary’s security, he said “an area of adequate breadth” between Hungary and Russia was needed, and Ukraine’s independence and viability were therefore a vested Hungarian interest.
Orbán underlined Hungary’s support for developing Europe’s military capabilities and a common European defence force, and he noted related efforts under way to create a modern Hungarian army.