The Prime Minister stressed that we additionally need a good economic policy which leaves room for the realisation of projects similar to this test track in Hungary even in difficult times because “if there are no such major developments in difficult times, then good times will come in vain as we will have failed to make preparations for making use of them”.
He said we dug ourselves out of the deep hole that we were in in 2010. There may be people who earn more, but few have come such a difficult and long way, he said, adding that without the support of the Hungarians who want to work we would not be capable of such an outstanding performance.
He said it is evident that “a country of ten million can’t hope” to have the physical strength, population or GDP with which it could make itself competitive. Our size, our population, our territory do not make us suitable for joining the ranks of the best. This is why we need talent, wits, courage, an ability to respond, capacity for making decisions, he listed.
He took the view that it is important for us “to be faster than others, to recognise the future before others”. This test track is like a crystal ball, looking into which “we will see the future” in a technological sense, he pointed out.
He said this was the thought that convinced members of the government that it is well worth supporting this project, that it is well worth investing HUF 30 to 40 billion in it. “This is Hungary, naturally, we’re at sixty now,” he added.
The Prime Minister said it is to be hoped that the international political events that are now rearranging the entire European economy will not frustrate the implementation of ever further phases of development. But it is not only about this project, “we have a complete military operation plan” for the automotive industry, “we have fantastic things to look forward to, fantastic things are in the making,” and the automotive industry plays an enormous part in the development of Hungary’s industry, he underlined.
He observed that while in 2010 just 80,000 people worked in the Hungarian automotive industry, now as many as 150,000 families live off this sector.
Mr Orbán also said “we’re not communists,” we believe in the private economy, in private enterprise, but there are economic activities of certain types which are not viable from a business point of view. At times like this, the question is whether there is a state, there is a government that understands this and steps in. Due to subsequent tax revenues, the state will also benefit, meaning that the investment will pay off, but in actual fact, the state makes these investments not in order to make a profit directly, but in order to help businesses, he explained. He added that on the whole, in addition to the technological side, the business side of the development pays off, too, and this is the case with every major project.
He said this test track was an enormous risk because had it failed, it would have discredited not only this project, but also the perception of the state’s role that the state should act not only as regulator, but equally as developer.
The Prime Minister said “we’re not living in easy times,” the whole of Europe is being replanned, “a war in the magnitude not seen since World War II is under way in Ukraine” which will rearrange international relations in their entirety. We Hungarians “know only too well what war means, we know only too well what suffering it entails, we know only too well what the risks are, and we know only too well how to behave responsibly in such a situation,” he said.
He stressed that “anyone who feels strong enough to lead the country should present themselves at the weigh-in not in times of war”.
Former President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)-United Nations Special Envoy for Road Safety Jean Todt recalled that he had already visited the Zalaegerszeg test track two years ago, and he was deeply impressed by the amount of work that had been completed on the site since.
He indicated that every year worldwide 1.3 million people die on the roads, and more than 15 million people become injured sustaining long-term health damage. Regarding the Zala test track, he said it provides an opportunity for the development of new technologies, the testing of autonomous vehicles, and trying out other automotive safety elements contributing to the enhancement of the transport safety of Europe and the world.
Member of Parliament for the constituency (Fidesz)-ministerial commissioner for the test track László Vigh declared ZalaZONE implemented in an area of 265 hectares from a budget of HUF 45 billion completed, adding that this was dreamt up by Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics.
The test track is now attracting investors like a magnet; recently, a topping out ceremony was held for the Austrian AVL’s development centre, TÜV Rheinland will create an experimental centre for the production of batteries, while Bosch has announced a development worth HUF 10 billion. A test road will also be connected to the test track; a ten-kilometre section of the M76 motorway will be developed for this purpose, the ministerial commissioner said.