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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the inauguration of a new facility for Ongropack Kft.

If this wasn’t a ceremonial occasion, I would say, “Crikey, this looks great!”

Madam Managing Director, Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’ll repeat an old parliamentary quip: before I start my speech, I’d like to say something. Listening to Chairman László F. Kovács speaking about the company’s history and its impressive figures, something occurred to me – in addition to words of respect. Perhaps a younger man can say something like this to an older one, and I’ll try to do so politely. The thought that occurred to me was that talent matters. What’s more, that’s what really matters. Congratulations, Mr. Chairman. The second thought that occurred to me was that this is how I’ve always envisaged the future of Hungary: full of plants and factories like this, which was designed by Hungarians, built by Hungarians, and which is operated by Hungarians, staffed by Hungarians, and owned by a Hungarian family. We need a few thousand more of these.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The third thought I should mention here is in response to the Honourable Chairman’s reference to the National Bank of Hungary’s credit programme as a financial stimulus for investment. The National Bank of Hungary seems a soulless institution if we simply refer to it by name. But within it brainpower is generating concepts and ideas which can then be turned into economic reality; and therefore it’s important to mention that the National Bank wouldn’t have had a credit programme of any kind without György Matolcsy. It’s important that not only our factories, but also our financial institutions – including the National Bank – are led by people who are inventive and brave, and who dare to leave the well-trodden path for the untrodden one, if they’re convinced that it can lead to success. So our thanks are due to him as well.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Honourable Chairman, Madam Managing Director,

If my calculations are correct, this is the fortieth project we’ve inaugurated since the beginning of 2017. This means that Hungary’s reindustrialisation is proceeding at a good pace: at a pace that few people would have thought possible, say, eight years ago. There is, however, one other thing that is even more important than the pace of industrialisation: the fact that the news is no longer solely about the investments of multinational companies. Your plant is not the only one. Over the past few years we have managed to make the structure of the Hungarian economy healthier and more balanced – meaning that other major Hungarian companies are also making investments and developments. And I see ever more Hungarian companies which are strong enough to implement investments worth billions of forints, and to then hold their own in competition. Naturally we’re proud of every company that builds a new plant in Hungary, or takes over and operates an old one, thereby creating jobs and contributing to the performance of the Hungarian economy. But perhaps they also understand that the projects which are closest to our hearts are those implemented by Hungarian people. I don’t believe this is any different in China, Japan or Germany: they also derive self-esteem from the success of their own companies. In the same way, we Hungarians can only truly strengthen our self-esteem through the achievements of Hungarian companies. This is why I was happy to accept your invitation, as here in Szirmabesenyő today we’re celebrating an accomplishment which will further increase not only Hungary’s GDP, but also the self-esteem of the Hungarian people and Hungarian businesses.

What distinguishes a successful Hungarian company such as Ongropack? I’ve made a mental list of such a company’s distinguishing features. The first criterion of success – which we also see in your company – is that it has more than one means of support. Your company makes PVC products for the pharmaceutical industry, the food industry and the construction industry: three sectors which in Hungary are performing outstandingly well. The second criterion of success is that you’re able to make products of a quality which enables you to also penetrate foreign markets. What we heard from the Managing Director caught my attention, too: in 2016 92 per cent of the company’s sales revenue came from exports. This is a great achievement. Congratulations! The third criterion of your success is that you weren’t afraid of your own shadow. As far as the stars are concerned, I’m being less poetic than those who spoke before me. I would rather say that I can quite clearly see that after you had outgrown your rented premises, you dared to take the big step of building a modern factory of your own here, at a cost of 9.1 billion forints. I’m proud that the Hungarian government was also able to contribute one billion forints to this, and I’d like to take this opportunity to tell the company – those working here, the owners and managers – that we’re also happy to be at your disposal in developments for the period ahead. Finally, your success is based on a fourth criterion: that you have faith in local people; you have faith in North Borsod, and in the work and expertise of the people who live and work here. You’re right to have this faith, because North Borsod is the Hungarian region catching up at the fastest rate – thanks to the people working here, the Honourable Member of Parliament, the town leaders and businesses like yours. If I’ve been correctly informed, in the future this project will provide a living for another 115 families. I would also like to thank you for regularly supporting foundations in the neighbourhood, thereby helping them to preserve this part of the country and the security of the homes of the people who live here. I know that you also sponsor sports: to date you have sponsored spectator sports to the tune of 293 million forints, and this is a fine thing. May God preserve you in this good practice. Congratulations and thank you.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Hungarian businesses have never been as strong as they are now. They increasingly feature among the country’s largest taxpayers, and also among major investors. Looking to the future, now that Hungarian businesses have found their feet and are also able to hold their own, our next goal is for them to move up through the divisions as fast as they can. Those who today are featherweights should move up to middleweight, while those who are middleweights should move up to compete with the heavyweights: this is the industrial development programme for the next few years.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today you have every chance of doing this. We have launched the most important economic development programme since the fall of communism. There are perhaps some of us here who remember that in 2010 Hungary suffered from mass unemployment. Back then we launched an economic development programme summed up by the phrase “If there’s work there’s everything”. Today I can report that unemployment is at its lowest level since 1990. Now more than 4.5 million people are in employment. And the trend is promising. We are close to creating full employment in Hungary. Our growth rate is also remarkable in EU comparison: in the fourth quarter of last year, the Hungarian economy grew by 4.9 per cent, so by almost 5 per cent; this significantly exceeded the EU’s average growth rate of 2.6 per cent.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would also like us to remember that behind all these achievements stand not only owners and not only an economic policy, but behind every achievement there are Hungarian families: thousands – or even millions – of Hungarian families. They are talented, hardworking and trained people who over the past eight years have built a Hungary that can now be described as safe and prosperous.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’m convinced that the region of North-East Hungary will be one of the fastest growing regions in the coming years. What I’m about to say may perhaps still seem to be an exaggeration, but this is always how things begin. If you carry on like this, within a few years you will be competing with major industrial centres such as Győr or Kecskemét. To date the Government has encouraged this by giving every assistance not only to individual businesses, but also to the entire region, and to the city of Miskolc; and it will continue to do so in the future. It is in the interest of the whole of Hungary that this region strengthens, to again become one of its most important economic centres. Once one has reached a certain level, there’s no point in setting lesser goals. This region was once one of the country’s most important economic centres. I believe that regaining that position and reputation is the most important strategic goal for this region’s economy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In addition to successes, we cannot leave without mentioning the fact that the security we’ve achieved in Hungary and the economic growth and performance of Hungarian companies which we are now celebrating always face threats and challenges. This is especially relevant in light of the fact that on 8 April the country faces an important decision. The Hungarian economy also faces a threat: the threat that Hungary could become an immigrant country. I’d like to make it clear that if Hungary becomes an immigrant country, if the Hungarian people make such a decision, if a government is formed by those people who want to implement this programme, then all the economic resources available today will be used to build an immigrant country. In that eventuality there won’t be billions, or hundreds of millions, or even tens of millions of forints available for Hungarian businesses to enable them to provide jobs for thousands and tens of thousands of Hungarians. If the country makes the wrong decision on 8 April, if we fail to learn from the mistakes of Western European countries and if we take the same direction with our immigration policy, the growth of the Hungarian economy will come to a standstill. The burden accompanying such a policy would crush the life out of us: it would simply crush us, and throttle the Hungarian economy. This is not just about our culture – although of course I believe that is the most important aspect: when we make our decision on the eighth of next month it will also be about our economic opportunities and future. I ask you to bear this in mind. Bavaria is still a much more advanced country than we are; this is always how it begins, that one says something like this first. But even the Bavarians now need to spend more on supporting and promoting the integration of the migrants they have let in – if that is at all possible – than their combined budget for health care and economic development. And what the Bavarians cannot afford, I’m convinced we Hungarians cannot afford either.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I don’t want this region – and within it the whole of Hungary – to slide back down to where it was when it started out immediately after the fall of communism. I wish you every success, and may you make a wise decision on 8 April.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Nothing more remains to be said other than to congratulate the owners and every worker of Ongropack. You have achieved fantastic results. Please be proud of them, and don’t let anyone endanger your achievements. Protect everything you have achieved so far. I wish us all wise decisions, fine business prospects, high profits, further investment opportunities and hundreds of new jobs for the people of Borsod.

God bless you.