Press announcement by Viktor Orbán after a meeting of the Visegrád Four heads of government
11 September 2020, Lublin

I am honoured to greet you here today. The Polish prime minister has said everything that is important. I will only add two comments from a Hungarian point of view.

The first is that Hungary supports Poland’s efforts with regard to Belarus. We agreed on this with the Prime Minister some weeks ago, and we have continued to support the Polish approach ever since. We welcome today’s statement by Prime Minister Morawiecki, which is based on a strategic approach to Belarus. Democracy is important and human rights are important, but demanding this will not be enough. More than that is needed: a strategic approach is needed. This – most notably the economic pillar of strategic cooperation – is the aim of the Polish proposal today. I think that in a few weeks’ time, after economic considerations, we will get to the military and security pillar of a major strategic proposal. But this will require a European Council meeting, because security and geostrategic issues extend beyond the jurisdiction of the V4 countries. So once again we support Poland in its policy related to Belarus.

As far as the pandemic is concerned, I sincerely thank the other prime ministers for the cooperation they have shown. We want to set up a coordination system in the fight against the pandemic that enables consultations to take place with as little as one hour’s notice. Hungary shares the Polish approach on this as well. In the first wave we focused on the single goal of curbing the virus at all costs. Saving lives is still important, but a new consideration has also emerged, and now in the second wave a new strategy must be employed. The new consideration is that it is not enough to defend ourselves well in terms of the number of illnesses and deaths. That is not enough: at the same time we need to maintain the functioning of countries and economies. Hungary and the other three countries are in the same boat, and it is in our interest that the entire economy of Central Europe continues to function. It is not enough simply to defend ourselves well; we need to defend ourselves well while our economies continue to function. This is the task we must solve. This must first and foremost be solved by everyone on their home turf; but after that it is also worth following this route within the framework of Central European economic cooperation, and it is worth helping each other in this. Now, in a time of pandemic, this is where our enthusiasm sags a little. At every V4 gathering we say that our economies are the locomotives of European development, and that our growth far exceeds that of Westerners. I do not want this recognition and enthusiasm to disappear because we are now assailed by the pandemic. We must continue to affirm the potential – the development potential – inherent in our economies. Thus through the historical process to which all four of us have sworn allegiance, we are making our countries and the whole region the most liveable in Europe; in other words, we are eliminating the disadvantages we accumulated as a result of communism. Even in a pandemic we do not want to abandon this goal. I am glad that in this regard as well there was agreement among us today.

Thank you very much for your attention.