Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I welcome the Honourable Prime Minister of Poland and his delegation. This is indeed how one should begin a year. We sincerely hope that what begins well will also end well. Receiving friends and beginning a year in this way is always a good omen for the rest of the year; and this year we are in great need of good omens, as 2018 will be an important year for Europe. If you follow the rhythm of European politics, you will see that it has five-year cycles, as mandates for the Europe Parliament are issued for terms of five years; and this year – 2018 – will be the last full year in the current European cycle. The period which is coming to a close has shown everyone what is working well in the European Union and what isn’t working well. Today has seen a meeting between the leaders of two friendly nations, and we have received a delegation whose members we hold in high esteem. Whenever Poles visit us here on behalf of the government of the day, we receive the privilege of meeting people who were our political heroes when we were in our twenties: although the Prime Minister is too young for us to say that of him, his father – who fought as the leader of Fighting Solidarity – was one of the great heroes of our youth. So when we receive a Polish delegation, all these things come to mind: all these personal and historical facts that we are unable – and unwilling – to banish from our minds. This visit today, however, has a significance which extends beyond all those considerations – which, for the general public, are not in fact this meeting’s most important dimension. For the general public perhaps the most important feature is the fact that today has seen a meeting between two countries forming part of the Central European region. And the past few years have proved that Central European economic systems – including the Polish and Hungarian ones – are operating well; Central Europe and the Central European economic models are working well. In Central Europe today there are successful countries: countries which add to the strength of the European Union. We are making more of a contribution to the strength of the European Union than anyone would have thought back in 2004, when our countries joined. Back then one could not have thought that just over a decade later our region of Central Europe could be described as the economic engine of the European Union. This is the European Union’s fastest-growing region, without which we couldn’t speak about any meaningful European growth today. All in all, although Poland is four times the size of Hungary, our meeting today has been between two countries which have each contributed to the stabilisation of the European economy. So this is working. Over the past few years, however, we have also seen that there are things which are not working. The EU’s immigration policy is not working – and not only is it not working, but it has failed miserably. We also spoke about this at our meeting today. It is obvious that the European people don’t want immigration, while quite a few leaders in Europe continue to push their failed immigration policy. The Hungarian position that I outlined today is that we must continue to defend our borders, we must stop migration, and, rather than bringing immigrants here, we must take help to where it’s needed. Our meeting today presented me with an opportunity to thank Poland for having helped Hungary in its border defence efforts. We thank you, Prime Minister, and we thank Poland for sending Polish border-guard units to Hungary. We are grateful for this clear affirmation that the defence of Hungary’s southern borders is not simply an internal matter of concern for Hungary, but a common matter of concern for Europe: not for the first time in history, and perhaps not for the last.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The essence of today’s meeting was determined by the economic performance of recent years. I’d like to make it clear that – now that it’s standing on its own two feet – Central Europe is successful, and playing a stabilising role in Europe. In debates on the future of Europe we would like our input to be consistent with this role. While naturally I primarily speak on behalf of Hungary, the fact that our countries have a vision and a concept for the future of Europe means that we want to present our case forcefully. We would like a work-based economy and a performance-oriented Europe. We do not want to live in an empire again. We continue to see the European Union as an alliance of free European nations; and we are convinced that if somebody wants a strong Europe – as Poland and Hungary do – one can only achieve it if the Member States themselves are strong. There can be no such thing as a strong Europe with weak Member States. If the Member States are weak, then Europe is weak. Europe can only be strong if the Member States are strong. There’s no point in denying that part of our meeting naturally focused on more philosophical matters: we also analysed life in Europe from a more spiritual perspective; and I can summarise the Hungarian position by saying that we Hungarians want Europe to remain European. We therefore reject immigration. We prioritise the strengthening of families, and see support for starting and building families as an imperative. It is our conviction that the essence of Europe can be realised through the preservation and strengthening of Christian European culture.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Naturally, in addition to these philosophical matters, we also spoke about specific economic issues. We agreed that further great opportunities exist in the field of Polish-Hungarian economic cooperation. We concluded that there has still been hardly any change in one circumstance that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Empire: the dominant East-West direction of infrastructure links. The creation of North-South links is in the fundamental interests of Poland and Hungary, all of Central Europe, and therefore of Europe itself. In recent years we have achieved less in this area than we should have done. When we talk about links, we’re talking about both energy links and transport links. Fortunately the Honourable Prime Minister has an illustrious economic background and a wealth of experience in economic policy; and together we agreed that in the period ahead we shall place cooperation in large projects at the forefront of Polish-Hungarian relations. We shall prepare the specific plans for these, and make them public.
In summary, I can to say that we’ve had an excellent meeting. Today we’ve done a great deal to strengthen Polish-Hungarian friendship, which rests on the solid foundations of a common past. And I’m convinced that with the aid of today’s talks we’ll be able to carry forward this friendship into the year ahead and into the future. In the future Polish-Hungarian friendship will remain one of the cornerstones of Hungary’s policy on Europe.
Thank you for your attention.