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Press statement by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán after his talks with President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev

Honourable President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to be here with you again. The President and I reviewed several specific issues, and I would like to place our visit today in a broader context. Everything happening in international politics today is a reflection of a new situation, in which the balance between the East and the West has changed. Earlier it was universally accepted that in terms of technology, in terms of economic development, and in terms of successful attempts to develop political systems the West could feel that it was capable of the best performance in the world. This situation has now changed. This change in relative power has been in progress over the past ten years or so, and it will continue to be over the coming ten years. The whole world around us has changed, Asia and the East are continuously strengthening, and we Westerners have been racking our brains about how to keep pace with this development. This is a new situation, and in this new situation everyone and every nation must find their own place. Hungary is adapting to this new situation by strengthening the relations which tie us to countries of the East, including the region of Central Asia. This is easy for us, given that our historical roots link us to the peoples living in the Central Asia region: we look on one another as relatives, and so there are cultural foundations for the intensification of diplomatic and economic relations. In general, Hungary – which in terms of its origins is the most easterly of Europe’s Western countries – does not see danger in this new world order which is currently unfolding, but opportunities; and we’re seeking to use these opportunities by building ever stronger relations.

I have congratulated the President on the changes and reforms which are taking place here in Kazakhstan today. We tend to forget that democracy means more than the people being able to vote in elections and being given a chance to become involved in debate on public affairs. According to the ancient Greek concept, democracy also means a form of government in which freedom of opinion and participation must eventually find expression in effective and stable governance. This is why today the most successful countries in the world are the ones with the most stable political systems. In recent years, Kazakhstan has been at the forefront in terms of stability. And as far as I see, the changes currently taking place here are also strengthening stability, and not weakening it. This obviously deserves recognition, which I have expressed to the President; and I also wish the people of Kazakhstan success in relation to the upcoming presidential election.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I was here four years ago. Even in the space of four years this country has developed enormously, and looking at the changes in technology I’m sure that we’ll witness even more rapid development in the coming years. The geographical distance between our two nations is vast, taking four to five hours to cover by air. In such circumstances it is very difficult – but not impossible – to establish strong, tightly-woven relations. In recent years we’ve worked hard to set up Kazakh-Hungarian joint enterprises. We were among the first to take part in projects seeking to create a financial centre in Nur-Sultan. Hungary participated in this. We created an investment fund, a Kazakh-Hungarian investment fund, which has yielded its first results: we’ve inaugurated the first major agricultural project; and I’m pleased that a second project – the construction of a large dairy plant – has also been approved, and is awaiting implementation. It is no coincidence that at the end of this week a Hungarian business delegation of around one hundred people will be arriving here to explore further avenues of cooperation.

Finally, I’d like to say that we are happy that 250 Kazakh students are presently studying in Hungary with scholarships, because friendship is the best means of conquering distance, and friendship can only grow if we have mutual knowledge of one another. I’m sure that when these Kazakh students return to their native country they will be good ambassadors for Kazakh-Hungarian friendship and economic cooperation.

To sum up, we have had an extremely successful, cordial and friendly meeting. I am grateful to the President for having received us, and having offered us the opportunity for talks.

Thank you for your attention.