Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s address at the opening ceremony of the 53rd MOS International Trade and Business Fair
15 September 2021, Celje

Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I’d like to say thank you to Prime Minister Janez Janša for the invitation. Hungary would like to say thank you for the privilege of being a guest of honour of the reputable international Celje fair. We did our best to live up to expectations: we have a display area of 525 square metres, with 26 Hungarian companies present. We’d like to thank the exhibitors for the work which enabled us to be present here, and the Hungarian businesses for the effort they made to attend this event.

Esteemed Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen,

From an economic point of view, this year is a watershed. In Hungary we take the view that we’re living at the beginning of a new era in the world economy. This is not so evident for everyone, but Hungarian political tradition holds that what matters is not whether one is right; what matters is whether one will be right. The pandemic has turned our lives upside down, causing a severe crisis not only in health care, but equally in the economy. Last year was a black year in the history of the world economy: 114 million people lost their jobs worldwide, investments fell by 42 per cent globally, and the volume of world trade decreased by more than 5 per cent. Factories in the hundreds were closed down, big and strong international companies were compelled to downsize their capacities, many international firms implemented dramatic cuts. This means that the balance of forces has changed and is changing fundamentally in every segment of the world economy. Hungarians take the view that the new era in the world economy that started this year will begin with an extremely keen cycle of competition. This race will be about the global redistribution of production capacities as factories will not necessarily be reopened where the old ones were closed down; capacities will not be automatically re-built in the places where they were present earlier. Investors are looking for new locations offering a better chance of success. Hungary for its part has entered this competition. Those countries and regions stand a good chance in this race which persevered during the crisis, had a strategy, and did not cut capacities. Those have a real chance in this race who implemented developments also last year, and where people managed to keep their jobs. The big Central European economic region, with Slovenia and Hungary in it, is such a place, they are such countries.

We always keenly observe Slovenia which is a special and exciting country for us. You can see from the numbers that ever more Hungarians are coming here, and admire also in person your beautiful country. I never understood why in international politics the term “Western Balkans” is used in relation to Slovenia. In school we were taught that the Balkans begin where Orthodox religion starts. However, Slovenia belongs to the Latin world, and so for us Slovenia has never belonged to the Western Balkans. In the Hungarian people’s minds there is a big Central European economic space which extends from the shores of Poland down here, to the Adriatic, a cultural area, an economic region, a big Central European economic region which lends the nations living in it genuine support and security. Therefore, we have always looked upon Slovenia as a Central European country similar to us, and we’re convinced that if we cooperate, if we combine forces, both countries will be among the winners of the new era of the world economy – along with the rest of the countries of Central Europe. Your economic figures in the first six months very clearly prove this. We’d like to congratulate the actors of the Slovenian economy on this, but as I know that an economy can’t do well on its own, I’d like to congratulate Prime Minister Janez Janša and his government as they created the conditions that enable Slovenia to return at a fantastic speed to the level of its former economic performance.

Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In recent years, cooperation between the two countries has entered a new dimension. For this we owe our sincerest appreciation and gratitude to Prime Minister Janez Janša. Since he has been leader of Slovenia, Slovenian-Hungarian relations have returned to the foundations of mutual respect, and from this both nations will profit much. This year we will beyond doubt break the record regarding the volume of trade between the two countries, this year we will reach the highest volume of trade of all time. From the middle of next year, our electricity networks will be connected together. We have set up a joint fund for the development of our regions near the border. We’re building an international test corridor for the testing of autonomous cars. Hungary is ready to connect together our gas pipeline networks, and our biggest companies have appeared in the Slovenian economy, including in the banking system and fuel supply. I’d like to make it clear, Esteemed Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen, that we’re aware that the balance of trade, the balance of trade between Slovenia and Hungary is positive for you. Meaning that in trade between the two countries Slovenia is winning. As far as I see, this year your surplus in this trade will amount to around 200 million euros, but this increase in volume equally favours Hungary. Therefore, even with a balance of minus 200 million euros, we have a vested interest in increasing the volume of our trade. Forty-six Slovenian companies operate in Hungary, and others are welcome, too.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me to state in summary that we Hungarians and Slovenians have combined forces, and have created the most effective cooperation ever in the history of the two countries. We did so at the best possible time, on the verge of a new era which both countries – Slovenia and Hungary – could become winners of. Hungary is ready to continue this fruitful cooperation.

We’d like to thank you once again for the invitation. We wish the Slovenian people all the very best.