For us Hungary comes first, but through our work we also want to strengthen Europe
19. 05. 2018.
In Parliament on Friday Prime Minister Viktor Orbán introduced his new cabinet, stating that for the Government “Hungary comes first, but through our work we also want to strengthen Europe.”

The Prime Minister stressed that he sees the twenty years between 2010 and 2030 as a single era, because a country can only be led on the basis of long-term plans. In the world a new era – a new technological age – has begun, he stated, which requires an even more courageous spirit of renewal and even more change. He predicted that Europe will face the threat of mass population movement and mass migration for many more years.

Photo: Gergely Botár

Being a member of a government is both a mission and a service, said Mr. Orbán, who on behalf of the Cabinet promised that they would serve the nation loyally, and even in times of difficulty cherish Hungary without reservation.

The Prime Minister stressed that he had asked people to be ministers who share a common passion for Hungary, and who believe that “the greatest thing in our lives is that we were born Hungarian”.

He pointed out that the members of his political community are comrades-in-arms, rather than politicians competing with one another.

The Government will serve the nation, but our place is in Europe.

Mr. Orbán described his government as one with a European perspective, adding that “we will serve the nation, but our place is in Europe”. He asked his ministers to strive for friendly relations with the nations of Europe in the course of their work, stating that “For us Hungary comes first, but through our work we also want to strengthen Europe”.

The Prime Minister also spoke about his three previous governments, pointing out that hundreds of people from his political community have taken on leadership responsibilities in settlements around the country. He said that among them the number with the dedication, experience and readiness to serve would be enough to form several governments.

He said that “The people we ask to be ministers and when we ask them is always determined by the tasks the country faces: buttons are chosen for the coat, not vice versa. What we offer is always work, and never simply positions.” He added that there is only one yardstick: a Hungary of increasing strength and performance.

Mr. Orbán confirmed that he sees the twenty years between 2010 and 2030 as a single era, because a country can only be led on the basis of long-term plans. In his view, after eight years one can say that not only has the Hungarian government launched into this new era with a dynamic spirit, courage and an appetite for renewal, but that the Hungarian people have also done so.

Photo: Gergely Botár

He thanked businesses and entrepreneurs creating jobs, people returning to the world of work after unemployment, those engaged in public works schemes, young people starting families and the older generation, who raised today’s actively working generation. He also thanked the older generation because a large majority of them have supported the Government in its political battles.

He also stressed that today Hungary and the countries of Central Europe constitute the European Union’s fastest growing region.

Europe’s economic centre of gravity is gradually shifting eastwards, he said: “In 1990 Europe was our future, while today we are the future of Europe.”

He repeated his view that “it has been a long time since the stars were as favourably aligned above our homeland as they are now. We now have the opportunity to strike out in new directions, and we must do this, because even after an encouraging first eight years we are still only halfway towards completion of the work.”

He added that the Government has been engaged in radical transformations, fierce battles and arduous work, but a new technological age has begun, which will demand an even more courageous spirit of renewal and even more change. To address this challenge he said he has had to adjust the structure and composition of the new government.

Mr. Orbán observed that, in addition to technological challenges, the country must also face up to security and spiritual threats. He predicted that mass population movement and mass migration will continue to threaten Europe for many years, with tens of millions of people already poised to set out for Europe. He said that therefore the need is for strengthened defence capabilities, firmly defended borders and cool-headed management of security risks.

The Prime Minister said that the Government is not protecting particular religious beliefs, but the ways of life springing from Christian religious beliefs. This is why “we defend human dignity, the family, faith communities and the nation”, he stressed, observing that if all these are reduced to minority issues, it will mean both the end of Europe and the loss of one thousand years of Hungarian statehood. Therefore, he said, at the beginning of a new era it continues to be a duty to preserve Christian culture and run schools in that spirit.

Introducing his fourth government, on behalf of his ministers the Prime Minister thanked Members of Parliament for their trust. He said that he had asked Andrea Bártfai-Mager to be Minister for National Assets. He recalled that after 1990 Hungary suffered a major loss of assets, but after eight years of hard work a large amount has been re-acquired. It will be Ms. Bártfai-Mager’s responsibility to shape the country’s asset management strategy, and to preserve and operate strategic assets. He wished her every success in a post once held by an illustrious predecessor: Ferenc Mádl, who went on to become President of Hungary.

Interior Minister Sándor Pintér is responsible for Hungary’s security, said the Prime Minister, who thanked him for having restored the prestige of the Hungarian police force, for his indefatigability and for his refusal to accept compromises in defence of Hungary’s borders. Mr. Orbán said that he will continue his work as Interior Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the National Security Cabinet.

The Prime Minister introduced Minister of Human Capacities Miklós Kásler as someone who will have a special responsibility. A successful Hungary needs educated, healthy people of strong character, and this ministry requires a “Renaissance man”, he said, who is not afraid of his own shadow. Overseeing, coordinating and directing such an enormous ministerial machinery is a testing task which not many would readily commit to, he said.

The Prime Minister continued by saying that Tibor Benkő has been promoted from Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces to Defence Minister. Mr. Orbán said that decades of serious underperformance must now be addressed, at a time when neighbouring countries’ armed forces are far more advanced. It is still not too late for Hungary to catch up with its neighbours, he declared, stating that there are enormous reserves within the officers corps, which he asked the Minister to bring to the surface.

Photo: Gergely Botár

The Prime Minister will continue to rely on János Süli as Minister without Portfolio for enlargement of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant. He noted that the Nuclear Power Plant’s expansion is essential to preserve reductions in household utility bills and to increase the competitiveness of Hungarian businesses through cheap energy.

It will be László Trócsányi’s duty, Mr. Orbán continued, to protect the country’s sovereignty in the field of the law – particularly European law. He will also be required to evaluate the functioning of the new Fundamental Law and the new judicial system created at the beginning of the decade. The Minister will have some busy years ahead, the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister said that Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén’s firm, principled approach will also be a valuable contribution to the new government. He will be responsible for the anchor line which “during our practical work prevents us drifting further than we should from our ideological starting points”, the Prime Minister said. He thanked Mr. Semjén for the work he has accomplished in the interest of reunifying the Hungarian nation across borders. Mr. Orbán said that he will rely on his work in the coming years as Deputy Prime Minister and as head of the National Strategy Cabinet.

The Prime Minister said that in the new government Mihály Varga will serve as Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister heading the National Economy Cabinet. Mr. Orbán asked him to always remind his colleagues to cut their coats according to their cloth, and outlined what is expected of him: financial stability, a predictable budget, a low budget deficit and falling government debt.

László Palkovics has been given responsibility for innovation and technological renewal in the new government. This new ministry is required, Mr. Orbán said, because in the new technological era “we want to be winners”. The Hungarian economy must be at the forefront in the creative adoption and creation of new technologies, he argued.

István Nagy will lead the ministry for one of Hungary’s core sectors: agriculture. The Prime Minister said that Hungarian land has supported the Hungarian people for a thousand years, and it must be preserved and passed on to the next generation. He expects a policy from the new Minister of Agriculture which values farmers, rewards hard work, is open to new technologies, reconciles different types of agricultural businesses and also defends Hungarian interests in Brussels.

“You can see how in many European countries the distance between the people and their democratically elected governments increases day by day. Antal Rogán will be responsible for ensuring that this does not happen to us in Hungary,” Mr. Orbán said. He asked the Head of the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister to persevere in finding points of consensus between the people and the Government.

Photo: Gergely Botár

In the past few years Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó has had to stand his ground in complex and difficult situations, the Prime Minister said, adding that “There will be no shortage of these in the future either”, and that the country needs independent foreign policy that represents its national interests, as well as effective foreign trade policy amidst international economic competition. According to Mr. Orbán, for years Hungary has seen Mr. Szijjártó as the embodiment of continuity and knowledge of the terrain in international relations.

Finally Mr. Orbán introduced Gergely Gulyás, the new Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, who will be responsible for strategic planning, and “will have to oversee an entire country”. He expects the minister to coordinate the functioning of ministries and to maintain a culture of respect and cooperation. This ministry will serve as the “Government’s lightning rod”, he said, and he therefore asked the politician to bravely represent the Government’s arguments in intellectual debates about the country, both in Hungary and abroad.