Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank Prime Minister Silva for his invitation. If I were a Cape Verdean, I’d be wondering what these Hungarians are doing here: Hungarians whose capital is 5,300 kilometres away, who speak a completely incomprehensible language, and who are so uneducated that they don’t even speak Portuguese. If you’ll allow me, I’ll tell you how we got here. The first thing is that your Prime Minister came to visit us because our parties are both members of Christian Democrat International, of which we are both vice-presidents. In today’s world it’s rare for a country to openly declare itself to be Christian – and indeed in Europe it’s forbidden: over there you can’t talk about identity issues with such openness, and it’s a different world. And when we met in Budapest we realised that the Christian culture in which we had both been raised – thousands of kilometres apart – enabled us to see the world in a similar light.
The second reason I am here is that you’re making efforts towards closer links with the European Union: you have a special relationship with the European Union, and we are a member of that community. Furthermore, we are starting our familiarisation with Africa with the community of Portuguese-speaking countries. These circumstances combined to warrant my acceptance of the Prime Minister’s invitation. What’s more, Cape Verde has an excellent, widely-respected “ambassador” in Hungary: a fantastic athlete, and a member of your national football team, who deserves every Hungarian’s respect. That man is Stopira. So these are the combined factors that brought us here. Beyond the sphere of diplomacy, the Prime Minister and I reached agreement in two areas of cooperation: the economy and education. I’ll say just a sentence or two about diplomacy.
Hungary is the only country in the European Union which openly supports visa-free travel for your citizens – or perhaps one of only two countries which support it. You have granted visa-free travel to the nationals of European Union countries, and that is how I myself was able to travel here. In my view, the right approach is for these things to be mutual. Hungary is a country of ten million, there are countries in the EU that are much bigger than us, and we don’t like to see force determining international relations. It’s not morally defensible if a smaller country gives something which isn’t reciprocated by a larger one. So we fully support your citizens’ right to visa-free travel.
As regards economic cooperation, thank you for giving us the opportunity to sign these agreements. A joint committee will be set up, as this is a tried-and-trusted arrangement for us. I can tell the people of Cape Verde that although in terms of population Hungary is ranked 88th in the world, in terms of exports it is ranked 34th. So our export and import activities are remarkable, even by global standards. We also believe that trade and investment contribute to people’s prosperity, as has happened in Hungary. So together with the establishment of this joint committee, we’re setting up a tied-aid credit programme worth 35 million euros, which will be used for the development of your agriculture and water management. We have also opened a 15 million euro private credit line, so that the people of Cape Verde and Hungary can set up joint ventures and engage in joint business activities.
As regards education, we have a long tradition of hosting Cape Verdean students in Hungary. Hungary has a system called “Stipendium Hungaricum”, within which we grant foreign students Hungarian state scholarships so that they can study in our country. This is how we are striving to gather friends around the world. We have offered you such an arrangement; ten scholarship holders will come to us this year, and every year we will await new students. Here in your islands we have gladly invested money on popularising the special Hungarian method of music education known as the “Kodály method”.
This is as much as we agreed in our first meeting, and I think it’s not bad: it’s a good start. I look forward to your Prime Minister coming to visit Hungary again, and for this cooperation to exist not only on paper, but for its real benefits to be felt in the lives of the citizens of Cape Verde. I wish the Prime Minister every success.
Thank you for inviting us here.