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Press statement by Viktor Orbán after his talks with Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel

I also respectfully greet you. Good afternoon.

We have had an intensive discussion, which was held in an amicable atmosphere. We thank Germany very much for the cooperation and friendship which we have experienced over the past few decades, and which remains intact. Thirty years is a long time. We too are happy that there was a moment when Hungarians and Germans forged an alliance for an important and good cause in the interest of all Europe, when we put an end to the division of Europe and launched the continent’s reunification. We will be pleased to see joint events commemorating this.

As regards the economy, here in Germany it is also well known that in Hungary we are building a work-based economy with the aim of attaining full employment; and for this, German-Hungarian economic cooperation is a major contributing factor. The investment and trade figures between the two countries are superb. Today we asked what we could do to continue this process, and we concluded that we must forge closer cooperation in the innovation and technology fields. We agreed that in each country we will set up a small task force, which will cooperate and make recommendations in the field of innovation and technology. We also touched on the dimension of defence. Hungary was among the first to suggest the establishment of a joint European army and a European defence policy. Today we remain committed to this direction. We would like to see a European defence industry, and on these European foundations we also envisage the modernisation of the Hungarian army. In this area, too, we would like to cooperate with Germany, and I specifically asked the Chancellor to give consideration to this. There is a cooperative development programme for the Middle East and in North Africa, within which we are jointly helping communities in crisis. We have decided to continue this cooperation.

I have informed the Chancellor that there is only one non-German-speaking country where a child can be born and be educated in German all the way from nursery school to university. That country is Hungary: we have four hundred elementary and secondary schools which provide education for the national minority; we have 215 such nursery schools; and the only German-language university outside German-speaking territories is in Budapest. So we greatly appreciate the contribution made by Hungary’s German-speaking minority to our country’s successes, and we are providing them with everything they need. I have requested that we capitalise on the existence of a German-language university in Budapest, and raise its influence and activities to a new level. We will also talk about this in the future.

And naturally we spoke about migration. I can tell you that something we have known all along has been made clear again: the Chancellor and I – Germany and Hungary – look at the world from different viewpoints. And as we look at the world from different viewpoints, we also see it differently. But, despite this, we are striving for close cooperation. So the differences in our views cannot prevent us from seeking opportunities for cooperation, and I am ready to cooperate with the Chancellor in this area also. I have assured the Chancellor that Hungary’s southern border is well protected, and migrants cannot reach either Hungary, Austria or Germany from that direction. We shall continue to defend that border in the future. I thanked the Chancellor for the cooperation she showed me at the most recent European Union summit, and we thank her very much for the fact that a Europe-wide agreement has been reached on two migration-related issues that are so important for Hungary: assigning paramount importance to border defence; and creating hotspots outside Europe. This agreement could not have been reached without the Chancellor. This has been one of Hungary’s long-standing aspirations. We are pleased that it has finally been realised.

I thank the Chancellor for today’s talks.