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Hungary’s greatest advantage is the knowledge and professional expertise of the Hungarian people

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Guests,

I greet the Ambassador of India, and also Mr. Vivek Chaand Sehgal, the head of the Samvardhana Motherson Group, and his son, the Vice-Chairman of the group.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’ve realised that I’ve been invited here because  have gathered together here today are representatives of two kindred professions: tightrope walkers and statesmen. These two areas truly have a lot in common. It’s not only that both demand a good sense of balance; and they’re not only similar because there’s no safety net. But the main feature they have in common is that when you’re on the tightrope, you have to maintain a particular posture, and so you see the world from a specific angle. I believe I’ve been invited here in order to speak about today’s event from a specific point of view: from the viewpoint of the national economy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

You all know that the Government of Hungary is a family-friendly government; and when we look at this company, the image we see is not so much that of a company as of a large family. Here in Europe we Hungarians are seen at times as an old-fashioned people; one of the reasons for this is that for us the family continues to be the most precious asset. We Hungarians believe that families which stay together, work hard and have a strong and resolute person at their head are capable of outstanding achievements. And our host today, who is responsible for this project, represents just such a family, and his presence in Hungary is a sign of encouragement. Their example shows that the concept of family has not gone out of fashion at all; indeed, it is not the antithesis of success, but can easily be the path leading to it. Our host has accomplished an awe-inspiring achievement, as the Sehgal family has built a commercial empire represented in 37 countries on four continents. And, if our sums are correct, worldwide it may well employ as many people as live in the city of Kecskemét. Today we have gathered here to see a new chapter in this success story being opened – here, in Kecskemét. What does this factory mean to Hungary?

Ladies and Gentlemen, Honourable Chairman,

First of all, to us this investment means trust. It means that investors have faith in Hungarian experts. Because although our countries differ greatly in size, we do have something in common: both the Indians and Hungarians are similar in that we are proudest of that which we have worked the hardest for; and Hungary has worked very hard to become a place where there can be investments such as the one we are delighted to see here today. As far as I know, when your corporate group was looking for a location for its project, you examined several candidates, and selected Hungary from among a number of applicants. And it is clear that for you an important consideration was the proximity of the Mercedes factory here in Kecskemét. But, from the tightrope walker’s perspective, I’d like to draw your attention to another important aspect. This is not the first investment your family has made in Hungary. You also have production facilities in Mosonszolnok and Mosonmagyaróvár. This means that this investment would not have come into being if workers in Mosonszolnok and Mosonmagyaróvár had not performed to excellent standards. So for this investment to come into being, it was not enough for Kecskemét to have good leadership, and it was not enough that there is a Mercedes plant here; your family also had to feel that Hungary is a country in which the workers are good, and that launching an investment with the Hungarians would lead to joint success. So I’d like to thank the workers in Mosonszolnok and Mosonmagyaróvár for their performance, with which they’ve laid the foundations for this investment in Kecskemét. This, too, shows that we are a nation, and this is what happens when we act as a nation: someone does something in one part of the country which serves their interest; and by doing so, they open up an opportunity to another part of the national community – in this instance here, in Kecskemét.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

From the Hungarian government’s point of view, it is important that this investment will provide jobs for 450 people. It is also important, as I explained to the Honourable Chairman, that geographically Hungary comprises two regions: Pannonia and Hunnia. It is important that this investment has come into being east of the Danube: something which clearly suggests that in time the inherited geographical differences between the two regions will disappear, and investments will be present in sufficient volume not only in Pannonia, but also in Hunnia.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As Hungary’s greatest advantage is the skills and expertise of the Hungarian people, it is important for us that those who invest here should not only wish to make a profit, but should also invest in what is the most precious for us, in our most valuable asset: in the knowledge and training of Hungarian workers.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I must thank the Honourable Chairman and his family for also contributing to the funding of dual training, and helping us to operate secondary schools and university departments in Hungary. These enable young people to acquire competitive knowledge and skills, which we value highly, as we not only want to be good enough in the present time, but we also want to win the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In addition to being a sign of trust in Hungary,  this investment is also a vote of confidence in us personally: in those of us who are responsible for economic policy, in me and my friend, the Minister of National Economy Mihály Varga. Each and every investment like this shows that the framework we’ve created is functioning to the benefit of stakeholders in the economy. I’d like to inform you that since 1 January 2017 we have inaugurated 32 new, large-scale plants in Hungary, including this one; and over the past ten and a half months the total value of investments has been more than 511 billion forints. The Hungarian government has contributed more than 47 billion forints to this enormous sum. The Hungarian budget made a contribution of 7.7 billion forints to this investment alone.

I believe that it is important to underline that we are welcoming here a family from India. You may remember the debates about Hungary’s policy of eastward opening: about whether we should live in a house that only has a door facing towards the West, or in a house which has at least a window that opens eastward. These investments all prove that eastward opening is a matter of Realpolitik. We must recognise that Asia – the countries emerging there – will become important players in the European economy, and, if we pursue the right investment policy, may also become important players in the Hungarian economy. I would also like to draw your attention to something which I told the Honourable Chairman: that we have a positive bias towards Indian investors who have come here. I’ve already made agreements with several groups of them, and I can confidently say that Indian investors have observed each and every agreement to the letter, without exception. This is also good news for Kecskemét, because with this family’s investment  they’ve received not only a successful partner, but also a reliable one.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is the point at which I should also mention that a new reality is knocking on Europe’s door. The following figures are rarely quoted. Comparing the volume of trade between Germany and the four Visegrád countries with the volume between Germany and France, we see that the former is 55 per cent higher than the latter. We, the Visegrád Four, conduct 55 per cent more trade with Germany than France does. Furthermore, our four countries combined conduct more trade with Germany than the total conducted with Germany by the United States and China combined. These are the new European realities. Before us we see an emerging Central European region, and we Hungarians are also a member of this region. So we not only wish to welcome you to Hungary, but also to the Visegrád region: Europe’s most successful economic region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The tightrope act we’ve just seen was not only interesting because it is represents a kindred profession, but also because it featured ladies. The Honourable Chairman may have observed that Hungarian ladies are not easily frightened. We are therefore not at all surprised that such a large and dynamically developing city is led by a lady – whom I’d like to thank for her invitation, and for the opportunity of being here with you. I would also like to wish the City of Kecskemét and the Honourable Mayor much success for the future, because Kecskemét is indeed a success story, and we Hungarians – even those of us who don’t live in Kecskemét – need your success story very much.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In recent years Kecskemét has produced figures which perhaps no other Hungarian city has equalled: in ten years you have created ten thousand new jobs, and in 2012 your city became the country’s first prioritised centre for the automotive industry. I therefore believe that this is a good meeting between the city and investors. May you both – the City of Kecskemét, the people living here and the Indian investors who came here – profit equally from this investment. Show the country and the world what we are capable of together.

I wish the City of Kecskemét the very best, and I also wish the Sehgal family the very best. God bless you all!