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Viktor Orbán’s press statement following his talks with Minister-President of Bavaria Horst Seehofer

Ladies and Gentlemen, Minister-President,

Before I tell you why we are so pleased to receive the Minister-President of Bavaria, I have to say a few words about what we have not done – and what we did not even intend to do. We can see that there are some who have already reported on the outcome of our meeting even before we met, and even before we had a chance to agree on anything. And we shall not allow anyone the opportunity to interpret our intentions instead of us. We shall do that ourselves. That, at least, is my position. So I would like to make clear that it was not the aim or intention of our talks today to weaken the position of the Chancellor of Germany. We did not come together to oppose Angela Merkel. We did not come together to weaken the German government. We did not come together to weaken the governing parties competing in the upcoming German elections – quite the contrary. I would like to make it clear that as we are also members of the family of parties which is the European People’s Party, we have an interest in the success of the CSU and the CDU. We have a vested interest in a strong German government and a strong German chancellor. In addition, I would like to make it clear that Hungary does not wish to play any part in the German election campaign. I can see that many would be happy to interpret what we are doing in that light, but what we are doing in Hungary has absolutely no German dimension: it is not related to the German election campaign. What we say – in particular, what we say about the migrant issue – is not affected in any way by German domestic politics. We have consistently sent the same message since September, regardless of whether or not there are elections in Germany. At the same time, while we do not play any part in the German election campaign, we do play a part in European politics. As I explained to the Minister-President today, in our own right, as the leadership and representatives of our country, we shall tell the entire wider European public what we stand for and why.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me now to say a few words about the significance of today’s meeting. Hungarian history has taught us Hungarians that, while it is possible to reach Berlin by means of a shorter route – particularly by air – the clever Hungarian will always go to Berlin via Munich. This clearly shows that Bavarian-Hungarian relations have always had a prominent role, and this is still the case. Love, of course, is a wonderful thing. This was obviously so in the past, but when our first Hungarian king married the daughter of a Bavarian duke, we suspect that considerations other than love may have played a hand. And this has been the case for a thousand years. Therefore our relations with Bavaria and the leaders and state premiers of Bavaria are always special and exceptional.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank Minister-President Seehofer, and through him the Bavarian people, for the steady support which they have given Hungary over many decades. This year we are celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, which presents us with a special opportunity to recall the help which the Bavarian people extended to the Hungarian freedom fighters and those who fled communism to Bavaria, to Germany. We offer our heartfelt thanks. Thank you, Bavaria. I would like to thank the Bavarian people and the Honourable Minister-President  for having responded to Hungary’s problems and difficulties – when history kicked the door in on us in the form of the migrant crisis – with understanding, and for seeking to understand with empathy what the Hungarian people have chosen to do. On your part there have been no reproofs, and there has been no prejudice, only understanding and friendship.

Minister-President Seehofer,

We wish to thank the Bavarian people for this. And finally, naturally you may have guessed that, in addition to Bavarian-Hungarian bilateral relations, this meeting today also had some political dimensions centred on Europe. Allow me to mention a few bilateral matters. You must be aware that Germany is our foremost foreign trade partner. The German state with which we trade the most is Bavaria. Last year we increased our exports to Bavaria by 13.5%, to EUR 8.5 billion. The special, distinguished status of Bavarian-Hungarian relations is clearly indicated by the fact that 2,300 Bavarian businesses are active in Hungary – 2,300 – and these offer the opportunity of livelihoods to a total of more than one hundred thousand Hungarian families; these 2,300 Bavarian companies offer more than one hundred thousand jobs. The Hungarian government has strategic agreements with four Bavarian companies: Audi, Siemens, Knorr-Bremse and Continental.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have agreed with Prime Minister Seehofer that, with regard to the difficult European political situation, we shall continue to stay in touch in the future as we have done to date, and that, as part of the relations between the two countries, in addition to bilateral relations we shall also keep on the agenda issues related to European politics and migration.

Minister-President,

Thank you once again for your visit. Thank you for your attention.