At the event held in the Carmelite Monastery, the Prime Minister highlighted that if we look back upon the recent past keeping a sufficient distance and restraining our emotions, we can see that before 2010 the Hungarian countryside was among the greatest losers from the respect of the distribution of resources, developments, investments and the creation of modern legislation.
He said in 2010 as minister Sándor Fazekas was given a mandate to restore life in the Hungarian countryside.
He stressed that since then arable land has been given protection, agriculture has been offered major opportunities, and it is not too far in time when one can say that in a Hungarian village one can live one’s life to the same standards as in the capital.
Mr Orbán said the farmer is “the archetype of Hungarian man”. People in the countryside take the view that there is an area which has clear boundaries, and they themselves are responsible for the quality of life, order, the possibility of living off that territory and the way things go over there, he explained. He added that there is responsibility, but it is not unlimited, it is not something abstract.
He believes that it is from this sense of responsibility that one can understand why the Hungarian countryside has given Hungarian politics so many good leaders as politics, too, requires the same mentality.
He said it is also important that people with this mentality always concentrate on the task in hand because rather than talking about tasks, they must be carried out. Tasks are real and clear, and if they are not carried out, there are clear consequences, he pointed out.
He observed that this is why it is difficult to understand all the dithering that surrounds the refurbishment of the Chain Bridge; that kind of politics is completely alien to the political attitude that stems from life in the countryside.
According to the Prime Minister, it is correct that there are so many people from the countryside in the government because as a result, the countryside is able to contribute to the leadership of the country with its life instincts.
He also said it is good to see cultivated land, and it is likewise good to see favourable agricultural statistics because that means that in the most important area of life people are able to create great things, in the very area that life itself feeds on, and so data of this kind also have significance for nation policy.
Mr Orbán further mentioned that at the beginning of the nineties there was a debate about the place of agriculture in the future. We needed predictable conditions, and in order to have peace in agriculture, we needed peace regarding the issue of land; the issue of land ownership had to be addressed. It was necessary to create conditions in which everyone could find advancement, he said.
He recalled that they had settled this issue by having given 80 per cent of land to small and medium-sized farmers, and 20 per cent of large farm owners. Today in Hungary, there is peace as regards the ownership of land, and this is well worth protecting, he said stating his view.
He said it is the government’s responsibility to provide appropriate funds, technologies, attention and a satisfactory legal environment for the Hungarian countryside and agriculture, and if these are available, the sector will be capable of rendering an even better performance. While important changes have already taken place and a dynamic improvement has been achieved, they are not yet at the very top, he said.
He observed that representation of the countryside has always been a mission of those who came from this world; only one ministry had its building in Kossuth tér, and that was none other than the Ministry of Agriculture.
He highlighted that agriculture has always been a part of Hungarian politics; a part that was sometimes “downtrodden,” sometimes tolerated, while at other times elevated to the top.
Co-author of the book Sándor Fazekas recalled that talking about topical issues two years ago, Mr Orbán told him that he should write a monograph about agriculture. During his work on the book, he then asked excellent agricultural authorities to contribute, he said.
He took the view that they complied with the main goal of the book as the starting point was to provide an overview of the period between 2010-2018, and to write an interesting work to the highest academic standards.
The book offers an overview of the decades of Hungarian agriculture before the fall of communism and of the period extending from the change of regime until the formation of Mr Orbán’s second government. However, in the context of the history leading to the passage of the new land legislation, the book reaches back all the way to the middle of the 20th century, the time when agricultural cooperatives were formed. It discusses events of the period after 2010 chronologically, while it also covers the issue of agricultural diplomacy and changes in agricultural administration.