For me, too, it is an honour to greet everyone – especially the Governor of the Hungarian National Bank, who has already said everything important. I would only like to supplement that with a few remarks.
The story was indeed that I suddenly became aware, as did my advisors, that on the gold market a few years ago some movement had started, and the gold purchase and reserve policies of central banks had changed. We tried to understand what was happening, and we concluded that a particular belief was emerging – the belief that the Governor of the National Bank has eloquently described to us just now. This was that although there was money in the market, with an abundance of available credit, we were approaching the point at which it would no longer be safe to rely on credit alone. This is understandable, because when someone borrowed money, you know the hand gesture: the hand of the person giving the money is on top, while that of the person receiving it is below. That’s how it is. Therefore, although it’s good to make use of credit, which of course is essential in the modern economy, credit alone is not enough; because at a given moment – and we have seen such moments in the past ten years – you may find that your economy is vulnerable. So international developments led us to conclude that we should urge the National Bank to analyse this process and, if necessary, take decisions accordingly. They duly did this, and I congratulate them on that. The Government respects the National Bank’s independence, so all we could say was let there be more, and let it be here at home. The questions of how much more and when are not within the Government’s remit. At the same time, we also drew attention to the fact that, due to a complex process over a number of years, several countries – several European countries which keep gold in vaults outside their borders – had started the phased repatriation of their gold reserves from the usual storage locations. At times like this it is always wise to understand why others are doing what they are doing, as their actions can assist in reaching conclusions on one’s own work. So the present situation is the result of a joint measure which was instigated by the Government, with full respect for the independence of the National Bank.
Naturally the question is whether people think it is important that there is a lot of gold here. I think it is important, because for people to have money they need two things: the money itself – and here we not only store gold, but also cash; and the other important thing is for that money to have value. In Hungary today the value of money is guaranteed by three things, which should reassure everyone of the value of their own money: it is guaranteed by the gold here, by the National Bank, and by the Government. For a moment now, all three of these were present when we were together in the same vault, where both the cash and the gold are guarded in a cutting-edge security environment meeting the highest international standards. It was good to see that this is not some shanty – just as our country is no longer a shanty: it is a sophisticated facility, which in technological terms gives Hungary a prominent position in the international competition for money movement and storage.
I congratulate the Governor of the National Bank. Turbulent times are coming, dangerous times are coming; the world will not continue where it left off before the pandemic, and at times like this we need reserves, collateral and security. Many thanks to the Governor for cooperating with the Government to provide this reserve, collateral and security for the country’s citizens.