Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The story is that today I’ve been campaigning in several settlements in the area – or, to put it more plainly, I’ve been banging the drum for Judit Czunyi-Bertalan. And it turned out that there was an event here – what’s more, the foundation stone ceremony for a kindergarten. And so I suggested to Judit that we should lay the foundation stone, as the kindergarten is important – and so if it was possible we should drop by to visit you and let me greet those gathered here. I don’t want to disrupt the programme, so I’d rather that you just looked on me as a kind of live music band, since at today’s event the Government isn’t being represented by me, but by State Secretary Katalin Novák. In any case, I’m delighted to be with you again. I’ve been trying to remember when I last visited you here, and if memory serves me well it was perhaps in 1991. There are eyewitnesses who can confirm that. I’m pleased that you and I are still around. I’m delighted to see you again.
The essence of what I have to say is that I would like to congratulate the Mayor on the fact that a foundation stone is being laid here. I would like to congratulate those who decided to support the building of this kindergarten. In Hungary nowadays when we speak about the future it’s generally in an anxious tone of voice. This is not so much to do with money, but much rather a question of whether there will be enough children in the future; and every small settlement is struggling with the problem of how far into the future it is worth planning, and whether or not the population will dwindle away. This is a continuous source of concern even in larger villages, such as the one which I hail from, in which the population is around two thousand. Your village is somewhat smaller, however, and if I’m not mistaken it is around half the size of ours. I can imagine that the question of whether the settlement has a future is one which preys on the minds of people living here, and I’m sure that the local mayors often dwell on this issue. One cannot, however, decide how many children there will be, whether we will have a future or what it will bring. But there is one thing that we can be sure of: if there are people who believe in the future, then there will be a future. And a settlement which decides to build a kindergarten – to lay a foundation stone and then build a kindergarten – is surely one in which there are people who think that there is a future. They think that there is a future for Bakonysárkány, and that what they build here with their own hands will not fade away. It will not slide into oblivion: there will be children, their children and grandchildren, who will continue their lives here. At the beginning of the 21st century it is a wonderful thing to think about the future in this way – to think in this way about the village, about your settlement. I would like to congratulate you for this approach and for this courage. If Katalin will permit me to also speak on behalf of the Government, I would like to make it clear that in Hungary today there is a government which thinks that the demographic problem afflicting the entire country should not be solved through immigration and should not be solved with migrants, but should be solved through family policy. The young must be supported, and grandparents must be supported. Let us not forget that we introduced the “Women 40” retirement regulation system because we believed that after forty years in employment, women who retire will probably return to helping their families. We don’t call it a “grandma pension”, but in reality that is its essence, and that is why women are receiving this opportunity. And as I see it this was a good decision, because as I travel around the whole country I see that it meets people’s desires; and women who are taking this retirement opportunity are indeed returning to helping their families as grandmothers.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
So I would like to confirm that Hungary has a government which stands by families, which supports families in making the commitment to have and raise children; we are employing every kind of measure in order to achieve this, and we shall continue to do so in the future. I do not now want to talk about the fact that there will be an election on 8 April, and there will only be a national government in Hungary for as long as there is a government such as ours; because if by chance other people enter office who represent something else – not the interest of the Hungarian people, and not the future of the Hungarian village – then of course other decisions could threaten us. On such a beautiful occasion as this, however, one should not think about such dire possibilities: one should only consider more attractive prospects. I also trust that on 8 April and the subsequent period we will see a continuation of the cooperation which has been created between the national government and Hungary’s small settlements and villages. I am sure that you’re aware that in Hungary today there is a development programme for cities which is called the Modern Cities Programme. This focuses on the development of cities. After the election – and, touch wood, we hope that the opportunity and the responsibility will be ours – we shall also launch the Modern Villages Programme. In this we aim to develop those settlements in Hungary in which there are people who believe in their own future, who want to preserve the future of their own villages, and who are therefore able to create a wide variety of plans and present them to the Government. So I hope that in the years ahead we can set about continuing this cooperation within the Modern Villages Programme.
I would like to thank the Mayor for allowing me to the microphone. Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak to you for a few minutes today. If you will allow me, I shall leave now, because I’m setting off for Brussels, where – today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow – I will have to continue not my campaign tour, but the battle. I am grateful for the opportunity to be here, and I wish all the people of Bakonysárkány much strength and good health.
Go for it Hungary, go for it Hungarians!