- miniszterelnok.hu - https://2015-2022.miniszterelnok.hu/address-by-viktor-orban-at-the-hungarian-chamber-of-commerce-and-industrys-opening-event-of-2021/ -

Address by Viktor Orbán at the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s opening event of 2021

Honourable President,

Thank you very much.

Mihály, Honourable Finance Minister, Guests, Distinguished Members of the Chamber,

Today I will talk about two things. First of all, I will take stock of the economy protection action plan. The economy protection action plan started in March 2020, and lasted until 1 January 2021. After that, I will give an overview of the essence of the economic relaunch action plan. The economic relaunch action plan will be implemented in three phases, and later I will talk about this more at length. The first phase started on 1 January and will last until 1 April, the second phase will start from 1 April and will last until 1 July, while the third phase will start on 1 July 2021 and last more or less until October 2021. These are two action plans: the economy protection action plan and the economy relaunch action plan. We have completed the economy protection action plan. In the language of sport, I could say that the economy protection action plan was about defence, while the economic relaunch action plan is about attack.

Now first briefly about the results of the economy protection action plan. We all know that we had high hopes for the year 2020. Those hopes were not unfounded: as the President of the Chamber and the Finance Minister have explained, 2019 was a positively promising year for Hungary. We managed to achieve records in the economy that we couldn’t have hoped for earlier. This meant that, thanks to the Finance Minister, when the crisis of the virus struck – when the pandemic struck – Hungary’s budget deficit was low, and the national debt had been kept well under control. In fact the latter was falling, thanks to the Finance Minister and the Governor of the National Bank. Employment – the number of people in work – was at a record high, thanks to businesspeople, including the President of the Chamber of Commerce. Incomes were rising, poverty was falling accordingly, and Hungary’s ability to attract investment was particularly high – even by international standards. The pandemic struck, however, and 2020 turned out not to be the continuation of 2019 that we had all hoped for, but the start of a completely new era: the era of defence in Hungary. This crisis was unable to knock the Hungarian economy off its feet, because our starting point was good, and a strong Hungarian economy confronted the crisis head on. But there’s no doubt that it hampered us, it gave the Hungarian economy a hard punch in the gut, and – as is the tendency – one was slowed down as a result. We even ran the danger of being completely trammelled, as in days gone by when the horns of cattle were tied to their feet as a means of restraint. In Hungarian this is the origin of phrases referring to such situations, even though the context has utterly changed. In any case, we ran the risk of paralysis. But this didn’t happen. I agree with the President of the Chamber, who said that even in the most difficult moments of the crisis a considerable portion of the economy remained functional and an important part of it functioned well, but there were segments – primarily linked to services, tourism and the hotel industry – which came to an almost complete standstill. This is how we launched our defence plan, the implementation of the economy protection action plan.

What measures have we used? First of all, within the economy protection action plan we introduced a debt repayment moratorium. This is an ugly, characterless term which on its own doesn’t convey the importance of the scheme itself. But we must acknowledge that through this we provided help for fifty thousand small and medium-sized businesses. And we also provided help for many Hungarian households, representing more than one million people in total. Overall three thousand billion forints have been left with families and businesses. This will have to be repaid later, not now, in a time of a crisis. We’ve provided salary support: in the hardest-hit sectors we’ve paid half of companies’ wage bills. We’ve suspended social security contributions – the Finance Minister has foregone this revenue, albeit with a heavy heart. We’ve halved the local business tax – which is something that local governments have had to accept with an even heavier heart. In order to preserve jobs we’ve given investment funding to 1,434 Hungarian businesses. Our estimates suggest that this has contributed to the retention of some 280,000 jobs, and has created tens of thousands more. I’d like to thank the President of the Chamber for the important step of introducing flexibility into the Széchenyi Card Programme, managed by KAVOSZ. Within the programme we’ve been offering – and will continue to offer – funding, and we’ve been able to help a great many employers through the Széchenyi Card. We’ve also flooded the market with cheap credit, and businesses have absorbed a significant proportion of this. I can also tell you that despite – or perhaps because of – the crisis, enormous amounts of money have flowed into the Hungarian economy. And if we take stock, we’ll see that more than half of the money flowing into the economy has helped microenterprises and small enterprises, which are primarily Hungarian businesses. It’s difficult for a prime minister to take stock of an economy protection action plan without being accused of bias. This is undoubtedly the case, as we must after all assess the job that we ourselves have done. I’ll try to speak as modestly as possible, and select an objective criterion on which to judge the success of our defence of the economy. In my view, the most important element of the economy is work; because if there is work there is everything, and there is work if there are jobs. The goal of our defence operation was to preserve jobs, and a persuasive proof of the fulfilment of this goal is the fact that in Hungary in December – December 2020 – the same number of people were in work as one year earlier: in December 2019, before the crisis. This means that in Hungary today, after the rollercoaster of the crisis, we can once again say that more than 4.5 million of our compatriots are in employment and are able to live from their work, earn a living for their families, and provide for their children. We’ve just seen a few diagrams, and we can also state that in the battle against unemployment we’ve maintained the position that earlier we fought hard for: Hungary has maintained the outstanding achievement of having the third lowest unemployment rate in the European Union. We’re a little put out by the fact that the Czechs are ahead of us in the rankings, and we’re working to rectify this. We Hungarians are used to being outranked by the Germans – we don’t like it, but we’re used to the fact that the Germans are ahead of us in some things; but at all events we want to overtake the Czechs. We see this as a noble regional contest. Tomorrow we’re receiving the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and we’ll try to steal some more knowledge from him on how to conduct even more successful job creation policy. On the whole I can tell you that we resisted the extraordinarily great temptation of returning to a benefit-based economy during a crisis. Many people think that in times of crisis the solution is to distribute welfare benefits. This may work in some countries, under certain circumstances. I don’t think Hungary is one of those countries. If we start handing out benefits, the number of workers will instantly fall. It is a special feature of the Hungarian economy that if it’s not obvious to people that they can live better lives by working than by claiming benefits, then they will choose benefits. The Hungarian economy suffered from this for long enough; and so, despite the crisis, we’ve remained on the path of a work-based economy, rather than returning to a benefits-based economy. And I believe that we’ve done well to choose this path, because the employment data I’ve just mentioned appears to support this.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As those who spoke before me mentioned, you’re aware that economic success in the period ahead is related to the date when the economy can be relaunched: what people call “opening”, the date when the restrictions are lifted. Having managed to overcome the first wave by the beginning of the summer, we started a national consultation focusing on the type of crisis management the Hungarian people would support in the upcoming period. The national consultation is one of our most important political tools, and one of our most important weapons for tackling the challenges we’re facing. The national consultation is a means of creating points of consensus. Literature written about power fills entire libraries, with thousands of volumes written on the subject. In our conception, political power is simply the capacity for joint action, when we manage to persuade one another and ourselves to take action collectively. This is what we call power, and the national consultation is one of its best instruments. The national consultation held in the summer clearly showed that there are things that the people regard as tolerable, and there are other things that they see as intolerable. They concluded that they could live with the closure of theatres, sporting events, cinemas, restaurants and hotels, but could not live with the closure of nurseries, schools and workplaces. Therefore the defence operation during the autumn featured unpleasant but tolerable restrictions, whilst avoiding intolerable restrictions and maintaining the normal course of life in other areas. We didn’t close workplaces, we kept nursery schools open, and we kept elementary schools open. And although this didn’t apply to secondary schools, we reckoned that parents would not necessarily need to stay at home with children of secondary school age, and so this would be bearable for them.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s important to mention that the National Bank also engaged in the battle against the economic crisis and the pandemic. The Government and the National Bank coordinated on management of the crisis. Evidence of this is that retail savings continued to rise, even during the crisis. The debt repayment moratorium that we introduced – in consultation with the National Bank – was the widest and most successful in Europe. Total retail credit continued to increase, and in terms of investment we managed to stay at the top of the rankings, as you saw in the charts earlier. On the whole another way in which Hungarian crisis management differed from that in Western Europe was that it didn’t involve the periodic easing and tightening of restrictions: in accordance with the findings of the national consultation, we replaced our former entirely free life with a life based on restrictions that we determined collectively. This is the life that we’re living now, and we’ve persevered in it. You can see that from time to time some countries ease restrictions, then infections rise. Later they may come down, but they don’t always succeed in bringing the numbers down, and this can claim the lives of many hundreds of people. By contrast, the Hungarian system has been stable throughout. We introduced it at the beginning of November, and it’s in effect to this day. The only question is when we can finally open the country.

As regards the economy, I can tell you that the economy protection action plan ended on 1 January. We can regard it having ended, because since January we’ve had access to vaccines in Hungary, and the vaccine is the greatest help against this pandemic. At the same time, the wide-scale application of the vaccine will open a new era in the economy. This is why we’ve launched the economic relaunch action plan. When will life return to normal? You know that we’ve extended the current restrictions up until 1 March. We plan to hold a consultation in mid-February. This time we won’t have as much time as we had in the summer, meaning that instead of the traditional form, we’ll hold an online, internet-based national consultation on issues related to reopening the country: whether it should be in one step or several steps, gradual or full. You’ll encounter the relevant publicity. All I’d like to tell you now is that this discussion, this consultation, is meaningful because we have vaccines: there’s something to talk about, because if there are vaccines, there will be vaccination; if there’s vaccination, there will be immunity; and if there’s immunity, we will be able to relaunch the country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I repeat: for the Government the vaccine is not a political issue. As far as we’re concerned, it doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or write, as long as it catches mice. Therefore we’re using both Western and Eastern vaccines: Russian, Chinese, American and British vaccines.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

After this, allow me to say a few words about the attack: the action plan designed to relaunch the economy. The first phase started on 1 January, and by 1 April all the measures will have entered into force. Let me repeat those that you’ve already heard about, those that we’ve already launched. We’ve reduced VAT on housing construction projects to 5 per cent. We’re offering preferential loans of up to 6 million forints for work to existing homes, including non-repayable grants of up to 3 million forints. The Finance Minister has been very generous, analysing the figures every which way, until he finally approved this programme. It won’t be easy for the budget to accommodate it, but just because something isn’t simple doesn’t mean that it can’t be realised. And we expect the Finance Minister to take care of this, too. We hope that we’ll be able to reach the figure of twenty thousand newly built homes, but we won’t be satisfied with that: we want to return to where we were before, with our construction sector being able to build forty thousand new homes annually. The reintroduction of the “thirteenth month’s pension” has begun, despite the crisis. This will have an impact on the lives of almost three million people. And we’ve announced that, thanks to the Finance Minister’s support, from 1 January 2022 young people under 25 will be exempt from personal income tax. I don’t want to talk about this at length now, because it would take up all the time I have. I’d just like to highlight the Government’s thinking about young people: childhood roughly lasts from birth until the age of 14; there is adolescence from 14 until 18; and there is young adulthood from 18 to 25. After the first twenty-five years of their lives – from birth and child care support all the way to personal income tax exemption for the under 25s – we want young Hungarians to be educated, cultured, well socialised, clear about their future, eager to grasp opportunities and able to stand on their own two feet. The Hungarian government’s ideal is that by the age of 25 our young people should be fit and strong enough – whether as university graduates or skilled workers – to transition from the world of young adults to the world of adults with families, and to be able to stand on their own two feet. Those who don’t stand on their own two feet will be unable to support a family, and therefore won’t really be adults. We want to assist this happening as early as possible. There will be no compulsion, and if someone wants to remain in the young adult age group and lifestyle, they’re free to do so. But the Government will use all possible means to perform its duty of assisting young people in standing on their own two feet.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Another element of the first section of this relaunch action plan is that yesterday the Government decided on the introduction of a new credit construction. President Parragh has spoken about this. Before this decision, we consulted the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The essence of this construction is that we’re providing ten-year zero per cent loans of up to ten million forints each for small and medium-sized enterprises which wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the relaunch of the economy without an initial lump sum. Clearly many businesses – primarily in the sectors in distress – have come to a standstill. In order for them to resume operations, it’s not enough to lift the restrictions – they also need some kind of financial assistance. These ten-year loans of ten million forints with zero per cent interest and a three-year moratorium – meaning that the repayment of the loans will only start after three years – could provide some help for smaller businesses. This is how we’ll get to 1 April. If in mid-February we conduct a consultation about the lifting of restrictions, decisions could be adopted on 1 March and 1 April – or 3 April, which is Easter. Provided that up until then we observe the rules with discipline, and the pressure of pent-up energies doesn’t divert us from keeping the law, by that point it’s absolutely certain that we’ll have a less restricted life than at present.

The second phase of the economy relaunch action plan will start on 1 April, focusing on higher education. As he should be, the Finance Minister is always among the most cautious ministers in the Government, and so he’s talking about higher education development costing 1,500 billion forints. But I hope that this will be more like 2,000 billion than 1,500 billion. The details of this will be released later. Universities which want to transform their operations will be able to do so up until 1 April. They’ll be able to eliminate any legal uncertainties involved in this transition, they’ll be able to stand firmly on their own two feet, and the new managers will be able to occupy their positions. After 1 April we hope and expect to see this enormous amount of money we’re offering higher education being utilised much more effectively than was typical in earlier times.

Once we’re past this, the third phase will start on 1 July. The third phase will be a period of major developments. In essence what we’ll be aiming for is green energy, the development of a circular economy, and the full digitalisation of the Hungarian economy. In this regard, you’ll see a paradoxical situation, in which Hungary will be both the European Union’s strongest opponent and its strongest ally. On some issues – such as the protection of traditional family values and migration – we’re not prepared to yield an inch; in these we’re a strong opponent of the European Union and Brussels, the Brussels bureaucrats. When it comes to a green and a circular economy, and when it comes to digitalisation, however, we are Brussels’ closest ally: we shall support all measures and shall use all funds under the designated criteria for creating a green economy, digitalisation, a new green energy system and the development of a circular economy. As another important part of this phase, we shall also announce our agricultural and rural development strategy for the next eight to ten years, and we’ll launch the first measures and calls for proposals. We’re preparing to unveil rural Hungary’s biggest ever development plan.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Perhaps I’ve said enough about the relaunch action plan. There are, however, some issues here which were partly touched upon by those who spoke before me, and which partly emerged independently of them, in the wider public sphere and in public discourse. Therefore I’d like to add a few comments on these. When it comes to the economy, we don’t necessarily place the greatest trust in UN statistics, but they nevertheless represent a certain level of authority. According to UN statistics, last year global investment fell by 42 per cent, while in Hungary it increased by 140 per cent. It’s very important for us to understand that at the beginning of this year, post-pandemic, a new era has begun in the world economy. What’s happening is not that factories around the world that were shut down will be automatically reopened. What’s happening is that factories that were shut down are looking for new sites. Regardless of where they operated before their factories were shut down, companies will open new factories in places where they’ll be able to do so most competitively. Therefore Hungary must enter this competition. This is why Hungary’s economic crisis management has been conceived in terms of entering this global contest, meaning that we’re competing to bring foreign investment projects to Hungary. We’ve entered the contest with a strong programme of investment incentives. This defines the main difference in economic policy approaches between the Right and the Left in Hungary: we support investment and jobs even when there’s a crisis; on the other hand the Left, including left-wing economists, always envisage their economic policy within the triangle of tax rises, higher redistribution by the state and benefits. Our approach lies outside that triangle.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When we talk about the Hungarian economy, we must also say a few words about our position in the world. The data I will now share with you is symbolic, because it clearly illustrates how our economic policy has designated Hungary’s place in the world economy. In the past few years, the highest number of large investment projects have come from Germany. Meanwhile Chinese firms are at the top of the rankings in terms of the overall value of investment, while over the past year and a half to two years US businesses have created the highest number of jobs. This clearly shows how the Hungarian economy is trying to balance, to find its position in the global economic arena. I’d like to mention the interesting fact that in 2019 the biggest investor was South Korea, while in 2020 it was China. And you must have seen that a few days ago Minister Péter Szijjártó also announced the largest greenfield investment in the history of the Hungarian economy: an investment worth 681 billion forints, which is also from Korea. I’d like to make another remark in connection with the automotive industry and vehicle production. A repeated criticism of the Hungarian economy is that it is too closely tied to the automotive industry. We’re trying to stand on more than one leg, but it’s undoubtedly true that the automotive industry forms a decisive part of the Hungarian economy. In this regard, however, an important change has occurred in the past two to three years, primarily led by Péter Szijjártó and his ministry. We’ve moved away from the conventional automotive industry, and Hungary is now trying to prove its worth in the manufacture of a new generation of automotive industry products: in the process of the changeover from conventional cars to electric cars, we’re seeking to preserve the important regional position that we secured for ourselves earlier. So far this has been successful. We hope that BMW’s project in Debrecen will also be an important stage in this transition. As regards our exports, you know exactly how big Hungary is. You also know that if we were unable to connect to the world economy, our living standards and economic performance would be a fraction of what they are now. Therefore any move towards isolationism, towards detaching the Hungarian economy from the body of the world economy, is clearly against the best interests of the Hungarian people and the Hungarian economy. We must participate in the world economy and we must export products, because that is how we can make more money, more revenue. Despite the crisis, last year Hungarian exports reached the level of one hundred billion euros. This made Hungary the world’s 34th biggest exporter. This is in spite of the fact that we don’t export raw materials, since we have none as a result of what happened to us one hundred years ago. At the same time, Hungary is ranked 94th in the world in terms of population. As I’ve said, we’re ranked 34th for exports. This is a fantastic achievement on the part of the Hungarian economy. The Finance Minister has said that, in light of the economic crisis, he wonders what the economic growth data for 2020 will be like: what rate of decline there will be in one country or another. We don’t yet have final data, because a number of countries will only publish their preliminary data on 16 February. There are, however, ten or so countries that have already done so. In Hungary the relevant statements are also being prepared. As I see it, commenting on what the Finance Minister said, the Hungarian economy’s recession in 2020 will be put at somewhere between 5 and 6 per cent. I believe that it could be closer to 5 than to 6, and we’ll occupy a fine position in the European rankings. On the basis of preliminary data I can clearly see that our recession will be perceptibly lower than that of France, Italy, Spain and even Austria. Therefore our relative position is improving, and perhaps we could even close the gap with the Czechs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is one other thing that Hungarian business actors regularly ask me about, or take me to task over. And that is the question of which Hungarian economy we’re talking about when we talk about the Hungarian economy: the economy in Hungary, or the economy owned by Hungarian individuals and by Hungarian businesses? In this regard also, the Finance Minister and I regularly follow the consequences of Hungary’s economic policy, to see how the percentage of Hungarian ownership in our own economy is developing. You may remember that in 2010 we identified four sectors as being strategically important for the national economy, in which our goal was at all costs to increase the percentage of Hungarian ownership to over 50 per cent. These included the following; the energy sector, where in 2010 Hungarian ownership was 29 per cent, while today it is 59 per cent, meaning that we have achieved our goal; the banking sector, where in 2010 Hungarian ownership was 40 per cent, while today we stand at 57 per cent; and the media and related industries, where we started from 34 per cent, and are now at 55 per cent. We’ve been successful in three sectors. We also had a fourth target sector, which we referred to as mixed retail. This is primarily because it seems to us that the success of Hungary’s agriculture and its food industry depends not only on those sectors themselves, on how they produce and whether or not they’re efficient, but also on the prices at which they’re able to sell their products: the prices which retailers pay for their products. We therefore came to the conclusion that the majority of food retailing should be in Hungarian hands. In this, however, we haven’t succeeded in achieving a breakthrough; in fact we just about reach, if at all, the percentages for this sector back in 2010. All of us – including the Finance Minister, but also the Minister of Agriculture – are racking our brains as to how this situation could be changed. There are sectors which we would like to transform in the coming ten years. At the end I will come back to President Parragh’s proposal about whether we should come to an agreement in the upcoming period – and if so, about what. If there’s an agreement, which I’d support, it should identify the sectors of the economy where we want to achieve a major change in the percentage of Hungarian ownership and want it to rise above 50 per cent. In my view, these could include information and communication, the construction materials industry and the manufacture of railway rolling stock – after all, we are the country of Ganz-MÁVAG. And perhaps we shouldn’t be content with these three: after negotiations we might designate further sectors.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Finally, what does the Hungarian economy’s success depend on? As part of this annual opening event we always discuss what happened last year and what will happen this year; but perhaps it’s worth asking the practically important question of what it is that the Hungarian economy’s success depends on. Both of those who spoke before me are experts on economic policy: President Parragh and Finance Minister Mihály Varga. I am only a prime minister, however, and I look at the world from a different angle; so my answer to this question comes from a different perspective. In my view, the success of the Hungarian economy depends on three things. The quality of the Hungarian economy is determined by the success or quality of three categories: the first is the quality of our workers; the second is the quality of our businesses; and the third is the quality of our economic policy experts.

If we look at the year ahead and our hopes from this perspective, we can say that in order for us to be able to say that our workers – I use the word “worker” for simplicity – to represent high standards, they must usually meet three requirements: they must value precision, they must be ready to learn, and they must have self-awareness. Perhaps the requirement for self-awareness needs some explanation, but I think it’s important to point out that the self-awareness of employees and workers in a country is a reflection of that country’s attitude and self-awareness. The attitude of workers is a reflection of the country’s attitude. If workers stand straight, then the country will also stand straight. If, however, they are stooping – or, God forbid, bowing and scraping – then the country, too, will be deferential and servile. Today we don’t have such a government, and the reason we don’t have such a government is that the people who support us stand straight and are of high quality. I can say that this isn’t simply a political opinion, but is also supported by facts, as Hungarian workers here in Hungary are operating the world’s most modern factories. They don’t work in sheds, but operate the world’s most modern factories with the most modern technological equipment. And investors continue to come here not only because our tax system is favourable, although of course that’s also important, but also because Hungarian workers are good. These same workers also hold their own abroad. As regards self-awareness, I can say that a country can only have a national government of the Right like the one Hungary has now if citizens – the majority of whom are employees and workers – think similarly. This is why we have a national government today. If the people didn’t think in this way, if workers didn’t think in this way, then there would be an internationalist, globalist, “Soros government” in Hungary. If I look at the individual aspect of self-awareness and dignity, rather than its national aspect, I can say that personal self-awareness – or what we call self-esteem – is also in pretty good shape; because any worker I speak to in any part of the country will mention sooner or later how they have their children educated. And people who have their children educated have self-esteem, and stand straight. So on the whole I have to say that the number one condition for the success of Hungarian economic policy exists: the availability of high-quality workers.

The second question is about the quality of businesses. It’s not my place to form an opinion on this, as that’s the Chamber’s responsibility. The Chamber has a rating system enabling it to assess the quality of Hungarian entrepreneurs. All I can say is that in my view Hungarian entrepreneurs should have three qualities: they must have initiative, they must be resilient, and they must be Hungarian. By resilience I mean that if they fall, they should pick themselves up and start again. And by Hungarian I mean that when they’re doing well, they should invest some of the proceeds in their own country: in culture, in churches, in sport, in local affairs, in their towns and villages. But it’s not my duty to make assessments, as that’s for the Chamber to do.

And finally a successful economy requires economic policy experts. We usually expect three things from our economic policy experts: they should be brave, they should be consistent, and they should be team players. The tandem that is moving the Hungarian economy forward – Finance Minister Mihály Varga and Minister for Innovation László Palkovics – are fine experts with international reputations who are among the best of the past decade. They are assisted in the Government by Péter Szijjártó and Andrea Mager, whom we can call assistants, because they also have duties outside the field of the economy. They’re good – in fact they’re very good, as the figures quoted here show. And there’s a sub-genre within economic policy, in a separate category: the central bank and its governor. In general, a country can expect the head of its central bank to have outstanding intellectual ability and to be an intelligent leader, because it’s there in the central bank that the new horizons signalling changes in the world economy and the advent of new eras can first be seen. So I believe that we have nothing to complain about in this department either: the Governor of the National Bank is a man of initiative, and in recent decades most economic policy innovations have originated from him.

So on the whole, I have to say that if quality workers are available, quality businesses are available and quality economic policy experts are available, then there’s only one other requirement: if these three things are available together, then the Prime Minister must not spoil all this. How can a prime minister avoid spoiling such a favourable alignment of stars? He can avoid it if he listens to those who are smarter than him. We came here today to listen to those who are smarter – regarding the economy, to listen to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Therefore I’m grateful to the President for having raised the issue of cooperation. We should perhaps mention, László, that cooperation between the Chamber and the Government is not without precedent, as among economic actors the foundations for this were laid by Sándor Demján – a person who otherwise meticulously sought to keep the economy away from politics. May he rest in peace. We should remember that when the economy was in peril in 2008–09, President Sándor Demján was the one who said that radical changes were required; and later, on behalf of the actors in the economy, he concluded an agreement with us, with me, which then laid the foundations for the cooperation that could later emerge between the Chamber and the Government. I stand ready, Honourable President, to conclude an agreement between the Chamber and the Government, in the interest of the development of the economy over the next ten years: an agreement which covers all important issues and offers the world of business a guarantee that Hungary will continue the economic policy which has so far proved to be successful.

Thank you very much for the invitation. Thank you for allowing me to be here.