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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the inauguration ceremony of a new plant for thyssenkrupp Components Technology Hungary Kft.

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen,

May I welcome the Mayor, Mr. Kroos and Mr. Eckstein. I also wish to extend especially warm greetings to Your Excellency, Mr. Ambassador. It is a great honour to have you here. Perhaps the investors are less aware of the significance of the debate mentioned by some of the earlier speakers, which is referred to in the name of the county: Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok. I myself have links to one of the sides and, as the Prime Minister must be impartial, I can’t make a ruling. But I think that these are debates which are not only a source of fun, but also important from Hungary’s point of view. Identities are important. We are all Hungarians, but within that broad category each of us has links to different traditions, and these are all things of value. Therefore I’m happy to accept an invitation to the Jász World Congress, and I always closely follow events at meetings of the Cumans in and around the town of Karcag.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Europe’s next few decades will focus on work and identity. Are we prepared to work hard for our standard of living, and are we prepared to make an effort to hold on to what we’ve already attained? And meanwhile, can we retain a sense of who we are? Will we turn our attention to our cultural identity, to our language, and to what makes us distinct? Because the world – at least as I see and understand it – is heading in a direction in which the only communities which survive and gain in strength will be those which truly know who they are. This means that Hungary, too, can only be successful if it remains a country of Hungarians and does not abandon its traditions. One of my favourite exchanges in the Hungarian parliament took place in the early nineties, and was about the Jász and Cuman peoples. At that time one of the state secretaries was a Jász man, who we called “Captain Jász” among ourselves, and one day I heard a question being put to him in Parliament. He was asked a rather hostile question by a representative from the Smallholders’ Party, who was of Cuman descent. Captain Jász answered, and when he eventually sat down the MP asking the question simply said, “Look, I asked you a question like a Cuman, and you answered it like a Jász”.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’m convinced that these cultural identities are important. I’m glad that our German guests also had an opportunity to acquaint themselves with this facet of Hungarian folk tradition. You can see that you didn’t bring your factory to a no-man’s land without traditions, but to somewhere inhabited by a community with a rich past which is proud of its traditions, and which wants to preserve those traditions. Mr. Kroos and Mr. Eckstein, these are the people who will be working in your factory and contributing to making your company successful here also, in Jászfényszaru.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is the thirty-fourth plant we have opened since the first of January 2017: thirty-four plants in thirteen months. In just over a year local and foreign investors have carried out investments in Hungary worth 517.6 billion forints, and in the process have created 5,811 jobs. These are impressive figures, and they all point in a single direction. They show that today Hungary is on a path which will lead it to arrive among Europe’s most competitive countries. The goal, however, is not merely to enter that prestigious group, but to stay there in the long term. The difficulty of this task is shown by the fact that Germany has occupied a place in that distinguished club for a very long time. So when we want to not only enter that club but stay there in the long term, we shall need the precision, discipline and work ethics of the Germans.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In Germany you are well aware that a competitive country needs well-capitalised large companies, small and medium-sized businesses which have an organic relationship with them, and a highly skilled labour force. You also need strong cities with a hinterland which is strengthening alongside them. Honourable Chief Executive, here in Hungary our provincial areas are especially important. We are working to ensure that a competitive Hungary comprises competitive regions and competitive settlements, and I therefore encourage the Mayor of Jászfényszaru to present her town development plans to the Finance Minister, who will be happy to take delivery of these documents in Karcag.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

What are the indicators of Hungary’s competitiveness today? First of all, this event today confirms our thoughts about competitiveness. Here we have a small town in the Jászság region with a population of some five and a half thousand. Naturally it is the centre of the world for the locals, but at the end of the day we’re talking about a small town in this region. Despite that, it not only entered the contest as a contender for a project initiated by an enormous multinational company, but it won that contest. What is that, if not competitive? In the first round sixty locations in twelve countries entered the contest to host the plant which has been built here, and ultimately Jászfényszaru was selected.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s no coincidence that there was such a keen contest for this plant. Providing jobs for 160,000 people in 79 countries, thyssenkrupp is one of the world’s most competitive companies. It’s an example to others that Jászfényszaru – with the Hungarian government’s help, if we can modestly mention that – managed to create the conditions which convinced this world-famous company’s executives that Jászfényszaru would be the best place for this cutting-edge automotive products factory. And they truly were convinced.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For an economy to perform well, competitive ideas on their own are not enough. Ideas must be arranged into a system, and the Germans are masters at that. For instance, thyssenkrupp is among the most innovative German companies today because it structures two hundred years of experience and tradition into a well-functioning business model. In Hungary we ourselves are trying something like this at the level of the national economy. We don’t just have ideas, but try to arrange those ideas and concepts into something that forms an economic model. We call The Hungarian model is supported by three pillars. The first one is full employment. If there is work, there is everything. When in 2010 we announced that we would create one million jobs within ten years, most people just smiled, saying that this was one of those customary campaign exaggerations. Today those people are less inclined to dismiss the idea with a smile; or if they do smile, it is out of pleasure at the fact that we have so far managed to create more than 700,000 jobs in eight years, and full employment is now well within reach. The

Hungarian model’s second pillar is the recognition that Hungary cannot solve its labour force and demographic problems through external means. Hungary does not want to solve its demographic problems with immigration and migrants. The third pillar is the creation of a competitive environment: we’ve introduced flexible labour market regulations and an attractive tax regime, and sought to transform our system of vocational training to meet the needs of the labour market. All this was accompanied by intense and lively specialist debate, as a result of which responsibility for this area was transferred to the Ministry of Economy; and in the future we expect to see the operation of an economy-oriented vocational training system in Hungary. I can hardly say that we’ve completed this work, but we have taken important steps in that direction. One of the most important tasks for the next four years will be to create a new, modern and fully functional Hungarian vocational training system, by adopting the virtues of the German system and relying on the traditions of the old Hungarian vocational training system. We are determined to accomplish this, because if we don’t train our young people for work, if we don’t give them modern occupations through which they can earn a living, then the Hungarian economy itself will not be able to function.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Honourable German Guests,

I’d like to mention the fact that your company – as you also said – has been present in Hungary almost since the fall of communism. You have always held the work and expertise of Hungarians in high esteem. Before this inauguration ceremony I met the factory managers and company representatives, who expressed their respect and appreciation for Hungarian workers and Hungarian engineers. Several times the company executives pointed out that the Hungarian development team is ranked among the world’s best, and today I had the opportunity to see for myself that this is not mere politeness: you have indeed put together a first-rate development team.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Here in Jászfényszaru we’re opening a plant which will be among the world’s most modern factories. These five hundred jobs are being created here from a budget of 33.38 billion forints – so almost 33.5 billion. And today Hungary is strong enough – and this is good news – to have enabled the Hungarian government to contribute more than 10.5 billion forints to this project. Thank you Mihály Varga and Péter Szijjártó for this decision!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

You know the situation in Hungary. You also know that we’re in the midst of an election campaign. Naturally, I don’t wish to use the present occasion for campaign purposes, but I’d like to point out briefly that every project, every job created here, every town development and the dramatic development of Jászfényszaru itself can only be meaningful and enduring if we are able to protect Hungary, and if we can keep the country how we want it to be. If we falter, if we make the wrong decision, if we fail to protect Hungary, within a few years all our developments will prove to have been in vain. If we are no longer Hungarians, if Hungary fails to remain a country of Hungarians, our developments will be of no benefit to us.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Therefore our position is clear. We do indeed sympathise with those peoples of the world which are experiencing hardships, but our position is that their problems should not be brought here: instead of bringing problems here, help must be taken there. Hungary is ready to act on this, and in this it is cooperating with Germany, and it is cooperating with the entire European Union.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For development, two conditions must always be in place. The first condition is to have highly trained workers with rising salaries who are increasingly convinced of the worth of their work. Secondly, the country must be kept secure, because security is the primary precondition for development of any kind: in Hungary we must guarantee investments and a safe and secure life for workers. We must defend our borders and maintain the hard-earned position which makes Hungary one of Europe’s safest countries – if not thesafest.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our economic growth is the fourth highest in today’s European Union. This has not always been the case: there were times when Hungary’s economy shrank more than any other in the European Union. That is a dubious record. Now we can be proud of the fact that our economic growth is continuously robust, and there are years – like 2017 and, according to Minister Varga, 2018 – when our economic growth brings us up among Europe’s leading group. So today we have the fourth highest growth in the European Union. Unemployment in Hungary is at a historic low: not since the fall of communism – since 1990 – have so many people in Hungary been in employment as there are now; and never have there been so few unemployed as there are now. To this I would add that, thanks to Mihály Varga, we have also put the brakes on sovereign debt and inflation.

However, Ladies and Gentlemen, this will not be enough. This is fine so far. We know the mentality of the Hungarian: we see results achieved as being over, as part of the past. This is also what we’ve heard today from Jászfényszaru’s mayor, who didn’t speak about achievements and didn’t expand at length on the projects that the Government has helped the settlement with – which make a fine list. We didn’t hear a word about those things, which is understandable – after all, we’re Hungarians. Instead she spoke about what we have to do from now on, because we’re only interested in what lies ahead of us. This is also true of the national economy, Ladies and Gentlemen. What we’ve achieved so far is impressive, and it won’t hurt to list these achievements in order to boost our spirits; but we must remember that for the future that will not be enough. That is now the past, it’s all behind us. Now we need the Hungarian economy to shift up yet another gear. We must now enter a phase in which we don’t just make products bearing the label“Made in Hungary”, but also products labelled “Invented in Hungary”: in other words, products that are not just manufactured here, but also invented, developed and created here. This is why we’ve launched the Supplier Action Plan, which is designed to enable Hungary’s small and medium-sized businesses to not only mesh with the production sector, but also with the research, development and innovation sectors.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Honourable Guests, Your Excellency,

Finally, all that remains is for me to congratulate the managers and all the workers at thyssenkrupp’s Hungarian subsidiary on their new plant. I’d like to advise the workers of the Jászság to never forget that it is clear that this German company came here and built a new factory because you are capable of the sort of high-quality performance which holds out the prospect of successful operations. Hungary is, of course, well situated, and so is this county; our economic policy is also in order, and Hungary’s infrastructure is holding up well. But at the end of the day, the fact that a major world company is once again expanding its operations in Hungary is down to the skill and hard work of the people who live here. I can safely say that Hungary is proud of its workers. Congratulations on this new plant. Keep up the good work!

Thank you for your attention.