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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the meeting for the heads of diplomatic missions

Today I have a relatively easy task, as what I have to say can be a boringly technical foreign affairs message. As luck would have it, only yesterday, as part of my eighteenth State of the Nation address – my customary speech reviewing the past year – I had the opportunity to communicate the most important aspects of Hungary’s nationally-oriented foreign policy principles. So there is no need to repeat them, quite apart from the fact that contradicting what one has said less than twenty-four hours earlier can be rather embarrassing – and in an informal speech that is an undoubted risk. Therefore, if you will allow me, today I shall not talk about the things I spoke about yesterday. I think that yesterday I managed to talk about foreign policy issues as clearly and openly as these issues allow.

What I shall talk about here is, first of all, the Ministry itself. In 2014 we did not launch many fundamental reforms in ministries like that at the Foreign Ministry. In the other ministries fundamental reforms were effectively implemented back in 2010. Of course this did not preclude the need for certain adjustments after the 2014 election, but these adjustments did not concern the determination of functions or result in fundamentally new structures. The only exception was foreign affairs; but this could not have been otherwise, as under the leadership of the minister János Martonyi – whom we greet here with respect – we could have set no other or higher aim than defending on the international scene the reforms launched in other areas in 2010. We could have expected nothing else. In our external communication there had been a clear need to explain, justify and defend all those things which we had been doing on the domestic front: the amendment of the Constitution, our economic policy, the decision to send the IMF packing – and I could continue. So this is why it was logical to leave the structural transformation of foreign affairs to the very end – to 2014. That is when we made a decision, and it was no ordinary decision. At this point in time I would rather not say whether it was a wise one; but at all events it was a brave decision, which represented a rather substantial departure from Hungary’s foreign policy approach and the traditional Hungarian approach to conducting foreign affairs. I am not saying that it entirely replaced the former approach, but it certainly set a new direction.

Hungarian foreign diplomacy has always been characterised by having perhaps the best-trained Hungarian public administration professionals; this is because they are not only experts in one field or another, but are also able to communicate and defend their expertise in other languages, in relations with various nations. Naturally, in 2014 we did not propose breaking with the tradition of employing highly-qualified professionals, and the reforms we contemplated did not seek to reduce the intellectual level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The reforms did, however, seek to add a new element, a new area of responsibility, whilst retaining those which we had previously. What I am talking about – as we can all see, and I believe you have also seen this confirmed over the past year or two – is that in the countries where your missions are based the main competition is not for the title of “the cleverest”, but rather for the title of “the most economically successful”. And we cannot afford to be left out of this competition. This is simply because – as the way things stand today – Hungary is a country of ten million; and if it only supplies its domestic market, a country of ten million will be unable to offer its citizens the standard of living and quality of life which Hungarians have been used to for the past 150 years, and which they expect of themselves, as well as their country. So we will be able to manage a country which satisfies the standard of living and quality of life rooted in its history only if Hungary is also successful in markets beyond its own. And for this, to be successful, we need a place where the relevant responsibilities are systematised, reviewed and allocated, and where their implementation is facilitated, appraised, monitored and enforced.

There was a long debate in Hungarian public administration dating back many years as to where this place should be. In this respect I learnt a great deal from Mr. Martonyi, back in 1998, when we tried to find a place within the organisational structure of Hungarian state administration for the promotion and management of foreign trade, our export policy in general, and foreign investment coming into Hungary. So we learnt this lesson, not only with the aid of textbooks, but also in practice; and finally, after eight years of government, I came to the conclusion that the best place for this function is in foreign affairs. This also coincided with what Mr. Martonyi had always stood for, which was not unconnected with the fact that his qualifications and expertise had enabled him to be active in this area. The fact is, however, that neither he nor I was strong enough to create clear boundaries. Here we should draw a veil over the question of how strong a prime minister is within his own government, but suffice to say – and perhaps it sounds better like this – not even both of us together were strong enough. And even when certain tasks were delegated to foreign affairs, the means needed to implement those tasks were not allocated. When the necessary network of specialist diplomats was transferred to foreign affairs, its supervision was left elsewhere. All in all, we had our fair share of struggles answering this question, and right up until 2014 we were not truly successful. Finally we managed to turn the page, and in one dynamic sweep – which naturally also involved the introduction of a new generation – we opened a new chapter, transforming the organisation of foreign affairs and redefining its responsibilities.

We can always argue – and we will do so as long as we live – about whether things are as they should be, whether we should make adjustments, and whether this is the correct definition for the ministry serving Hungary’s foreign policy. Naturally I do not wish to talk anyone out of these debates, because self-reflection and self-evaluation have always been an important source of Hungary’s intellectual performance. I would nonetheless like to reassure everyone that, while responsibilities of a similar nature are also performed by the Prime Minister’s Office and other leaders in the Government, this does not mean a change in our direction, as we must insist on considering the facts and figures. If we look at the state of Hungarian exports, the foreign investments coming to Hungary, the achievements of the Hungarian agencies, organisations and trading houses which are actively responsible for this field – in other words, the adjuncts of the current Foreign Ministry – the results are more than promising, even if we cannot be fully satisfied with them as yet. They are not only promising, but some of them are absolutely outstanding. We have just reviewed the figures with the Minister, and they show that Hungarian exports increased by 7.4% last year alone. And to achieve this we need goods to export and factories operating in Hungary; but we equally need markets, contacts and financing – and it has been a longstanding debate where Eximbank should be. We need a great many things, and these are obviously all present in the dynamism of our exports, and behind all this we also have the performance of the staff at the Ministry. So allow me to express my most sincere appreciation to you all for the impressive, measurable results.

It is equally important that the management of foreign investment flowing into Hungary has also been delegated to the Foreign Affairs Ministry. We have not yet found the perfect organisational model in this department either – though the Foreign Minister claims that they will have effectively achieved this feat by 1 March; but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and as we have yet to taste it, we cannot be sure whether it will pass the test. Here, too, we are seeking to create the most realistic possible organisational model which can swiftly adjust to the logic and flexibility of business within the shortest possible time. And indeed, if we look at the numbers (Péter knows the precise figures), the quality of the Ministry’s work is proven by the record-breaking foreign investments coming to Hungary. I shall quote some approximate figures. If I remember correctly, approximately EUR 80 billion of investment flowed into Hungary between the fall of communism and the end of 2014 or the first half of 2015. Of this, investment of EUR 6 billion came into Hungary in the past year alone. This amply demonstrates how successful the past year has been, compared with the total achievement of the last twenty years and more; and it shows what we can expect in terms of success over the next few years. And in contrast to the liberal approach, which holds that if the circumstances are right investors will come of their own accord, by now we all know that investment policy is much more complex; because while the circumstances must be right, investors will not necessarily come here just because they are right. Investors must be brought here, they must be encouraged and inspired. We must keep in contact with them, and they must have some clear points of reference, which in the modern world are the preconditions for secure investment.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is what I wanted to say about the Ministry. In other words, carry on the good work.

The second issue I would like to address is an EU affair. I shall be brief: the issue is sensitive, it has far-reaching implications, and as we are not at the Academy of Sciences, we shall not analyse all its ramifications. Nonetheless, the developments which we see in Europe today – from the migrant crisis all the way to the hard economic facts – clearly indicate that countries and forces within the EU which have for some time wanted to create some kind of core Europe are now particularly determined to do so. This is not the same as the idea of a two-speed Europe; there is so much intellectual chaos here, one can hardly find one’s way through it. It will be interesting to hear what Mr. Martonyi has to say about this; he can find his way through this intellectual jungle pretty well, and in the code language of EU politics he knows precisely which word stands for which political intention. It took me years to learn this. Anyway, I am not talking about the idea of a two-speed Europe now. I am talking about whether the European Union will have a core of countries which have introduced the euro (and which will take the conclusions and implications of this fact to the limit), with another Europe outside that core. As a logical conclusion, which is not exactly in our favour, in plain language this means that once a group of countries have introduced a common currency, it is very difficult to be economically successful in that currency union without adjusting other aspects of national sovereignty to its demands. In other words they have no common fiscal regime, no common pensions system, no common social welfare system, no common sovereign debt management system – and the list of areas of fiscal management goes on. Sooner or later these will have to be arranged and organised around the common currency, otherwise the common currency or monetary policy and the other uncoordinated elements of their economic policy will clash, and will cause the sort of problems which we can see so often within the eurozone. Eliminating and avoiding these is a natural interest of the states within the eurozone, but they have not yet been able to achieve this. There are several reasons for this, as it is easy for us Hungarians to see: if, in addition to the common currency, we were to harmonise our fiscal policy, our sovereign debt management and our social welfare system, in what way would we still be a sovereign state? If we harmonise something, compliance must be checked. For this we need an institution, we need an organisation, and we need bureaucrats. One can sense the way all decision-making powers constituting sovereignty are slipping out of national capitals to another place. And understandably, on a continent which is, after all, a continent of sovereign and proud nations, very few countries are prepared to go down this path. Therefore, while everyone knows that once we in the European Union have a common monetary policy, something like this is the rational outcome, as our natural national instincts resist this rational approach. This is why we tend to say that the European project has stalled. This is the final outcome and result of this situation. As far as I can see now, however, there is a problem within the European Union, in that several countries are now increasingly considering even closer integration after the adoption of the common currency. You are aware that a problem does not just mean trouble, but also a chance. And this is a challenge for us, for every country which is not a member of the eurozone. I do not wish to prejudge the outcome of this debate, because there is no way of knowing whether this resolve will actually bear fruit and leave us needing to adjust not to an idea, but to a changed situation.

So I do not wish to prejudge the outcome of a debate which events may later make redundant. But for those who like to think ahead, there is no harm in contemplating what the Hungarian interest would be in a situation like this. How could we define the Hungarian interest? To join such a European entity with a common currency and surrender the most important elements of national sovereignty, or to remain outside the eurozone and to continue to pursue an independent economic policy and an independent national policy, with all its related implications. This will be one of the great intellectual challenges and exciting debates of the next few years. I would not like to commit myself on this issue; I merely wish to briefly mention and remind you that, according to the Hungarian Constitution, the forint is the currency of the Hungarian economy, and amendment of the Constitution requires a two-thirds parliamentary majority. This indicates that when we have to answer this question posed to us by history – if such a question arises at all – our answer must be voiced with national unity, as it would take the passage of a two-thirds law and the amendment of the Constitution for the Hungarian nation to embark on this path.

Well, now, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Connected with this issue is another facet of the European Union’s internal condition which I described yesterday, with reference to the federalist forces and pro-sovereignty forces. Indeed, these are things of an intellectual nature. I am not talking about foreign policy trends now, but things of an intellectual nature which serve as the background for foreign policy trends. There is a tendency in the European Union – which also has supporters in Hungary – which argues – not only in the realm of politics, but also behind the scenes of politics, in the intellectual arena – that there is nothing wrong with the idea of creating a United States of Europe. It argues that this is a realistically attainable target, and there is no reason why we should not follow this path. And there is another trend, to which we belong. Its followers urge us to hold our horses and go easy – and I could think of a few Hungarian folk sayings advising us not to rush something like this. Or, to quote an Italian pearl of wisdom: we should let life take its course, it will take care of things, and we need not always try to be in charge of everything. So there is also an approach which says that we should instead cautiously rely on that which we are familiar with, that which we know, that which we can firmly hold onto. This is Hungary’s pro-sovereignty foreign policy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would now like to say a few words about Central Europe. The greatest challenge for the federalists and the European leaders and opinion-makers who wish to create a core Europe is to answer this question: while the essence of integration lies in the strengthening of the nations and the enhancement of their economic performance and potential, how is it that the economic growth of the countries of the eurozone is falling well below the economic growth of the countries outside the eurozone? This is true all the way from Britain to Central Europe. I could also say that those who are outside the eurozone are doing well by European standards, while those inside it are stagnating. And this is where Central Europe comes into the picture – even though Bratislava is a member of the eurozone. Ladies and Gentlemen, in the period ahead the challenge I have just mentioned will not only emerge on the intellectual horizon of the Hungarian nation, but also on the intellectual horizon of the whole of Central Europe. Central Europe, too, will have to address the issue of redefining itself in this currently changing European scene. This is why we attribute particular significance to the otherwise under-reported news that the Visegrád countries have decided to mark the 25th anniversary of the foundation of their cooperation by launching a Central European debate on what we actually think about Europe.  What do the Central Europeans actually think about Europe, where do we stand, how should we position ourselves, and how should we define our future in this region?

This will be a year-long series of conferences and debates, which we hope will feature stimulating lectures, books and publications, as well as practical results that will be useful in a political sense. In any event, I would like to make it clear that Central Europe has entered an era in which it is apparently quite able to stand on its own two feet, and is able to define itself. I spoke to our Foreign Minister not long ago about the fact that today there are two Hungarian places which are known in international diplomacy: Budapest and Visegrád. This is if we are talking about Visegrád in Hungary, and we are doing so in relation to the cooperation between the Visegrád countries, the successful Central European countries. The cooperation is an internationally recognised fact, its organisational expression is widely accepted, and it is a major reference point and resource for Hungarian diplomacy. Its existence is a credit to the wisdom of József Antall and his colleagues. At the beginning of the nineteen-nineties, few would have thought that three countries – which later became four – which were struggling for their very survival and were fighting for their very right to exist in the new world order after the Cold War would unite their forces, and more than twenty years later this group would become a significant factor in European politics. Indeed it has often been an important player, and one which can also be perceived in an international, global context. This is quite a diplomatic achievement. So perhaps one day, if the time comes when we do not measure the performance of Hungarian foreign affairs in terms of export figures, but we can afford the luxury of a historic horizon, we will be able to say that we have one of the greatest successes in the history of Hungarian diplomacy. We took part in this initiative – indeed we launched it. There was, it is true, some jostling at the table, as to whether the agreement should be signed by the President or the Prime Minister: we are, after all, Hungarians, and clever though we may be, our civilised customs cannot always keep up with the speed of our imaginations. But on the whole, we can say that the creation of the V4 has been a great success, and an achievement for Hungarian diplomacy which can also be appreciated in a historic perspective. I have spoken about this at such length because I would like you, too, to see what a valuable achievement it is, to appreciate it, and to use in your own work the fact that here in Central Europe there is an alliance which is no longer typical of any other group of countries in the European Union. While at this point in time we do not know precisely what significance this will have, it will undoubtedly have some significance in the debates on the future of Europe.

Allow me now to speak briefly about our relations with our neighbouring countries. I do not wish to say anything about Slovakia, because there will be an election campaign there in which we do not want to feature – although that this is rarely our decision alone. I recall an outstanding moment in my own foreign policy activity when we organised – what is the trendy term now? – a flash mob, or what Csaba Hende called a little fooling about. Yes, it was with our friend Pali Csáky at the foot of the bridge in Esztergom. We were in opposition at the time. Anyway, we got together, with a Hungarian crowd of fifty or seventy young families pushing prams, and we said all sorts of things; in consequence, an extraordinary session was convened in the Slovak parliament, and we heard some fiery speeches which were all published in a book. And I think that, just as with the Visegrád Four, it is a great feat of Hungarian foreign policy that we are capable of something like this, even in opposition. But I think that is unwise to revive such old memories just a few days before the election. So I would rather not say anything about Slovakia. I would just say that at this point in time our relations with Slovakia are settled, and it has been a very long time in Slovak-Hungarian relations – or in Czechoslovak-Hungarian relations, if we are talking about older times – since we last looked upon each other as reliable partners within an integration structure that is stronger than ourselves. Even in the days of the Soviet Union, or the “peace camp”, or in the world of the Warsaw Pact, we were not able to cooperate with the Czechoslovaks as well as we are able to now within the European Union. This is a historically rare and valuable moment, and we should cherish it while we can. We should see this as something precious, even though this mutual reliability and cooperation did not come about through settlement of the minority issue, which is so important for us. Because it did not come about through this, but much rather through economic cooperation, there are some things here which we have yet to discuss and settle with our Slovak friends at some point in the future.

The situation in Romania is much more difficult. I will try to put this as carefully as I can. Over there, as I see it, under the guise of enforcing the rule of law, legality and the fight against corruption, what we are actually witnessing is a political campaign against Hungarian politicians. We are not happy about this. We get the impression that this is not simply about the enforcement of the principles of the rule of law, but more about discrimination against the political leaders of the Hungarian minority. And we must speak out against this in the appropriate manner and with appropriate force. So, from a Hungarian point of view, things are not going well over there.

By contrast, there is a period of balanced cooperation with the Serbs, and we have even had an intergovernmental summit, when they came here to Budapest. Necessity can even forge friendships. Due to events in the Balkans, it is obvious that the two countries need each another, and here I shall not even discuss how and why we need them. It is common knowledge that, according to various estimates, some 300,000 Hungarians live in Vojvodina in Serbia, and so when we look at them we also look at ourselves a little. And they, too, need Hungary, because from a Serbian viewpoint the current events are proof of the vulnerability and difficulties experienced if one is not part of the European Union and is exposed to challenges such as those which Serbia is currently experiencing. And we obviously support Serbia’s accession to the European Union, as we did in the case of Croatia.

This is a country with which we are currently trying to settle our relations. This is no easy task, as the very fabric of these relations has been damaged. This is despite the fact that – apart, perhaps, from the Polish-Hungarian friendship – I cannot think of any other interstate coexistence and brotherhood in Europe which is as close as that between the Croats and the Hungarians. disregarding any other, deeper questions of genetic origin, and – though we are speaking of Slavs – based on the results of modern research, we can say with certainty that these two ethnic groups mixed and had much closer contact with each another than was generally believed, and we can therefore indeed look upon one another much more as brothers and sisters. So this situation is a given. There are all sorts of anthropological, historical and political reasons for good Croatian-Hungarian relations, and yet in recent years the very fabric of these relations has been damaged. It is cold comfort that it is not our fault, and it is cold comfort that the damage does not appear to be beyond repair; but it will not be easy. It is not only that our friends have levelled some nasty accusations against us. Such things happen with the best of friends and – horribile dictu, as I have mentioned – even within the best of families. So why could this not happen in Croatian-Hungarian relations? The bigger problem is that meanwhile time has sped past, and a number of common strategic decisions which we should have adopted and should have implemented with the Croats have been adopted with other countries instead. It has always been important for us that there should be energy systems and pipelines coming from the South, from the direction of Croatia. We thought that this would be the point when Hungary could release itself from only being able to import gas from Russia, from an easterly direction. In the meantime, however, we have built a pipeline with the Slovaks and, if we so wish, we are able to import molecules of non-Russian origin into the Hungarian gas system via that pipeline, independently of Croatia. And we are also in advanced negotiations with the Poles to see whether – at least as part of a test project – we can bring gas to Central Europe from the liquefied natural gas terminal in Poland. So a lot of time has gone by, but our joint project with Croatia is not irrelevant. It would still make sense, but it is no longer quite as urgent as it was earlier. Similarly, you may perhaps remember that a recurring dilemma of Hungarian foreign trade is which seaport we should orient towards, because we need to have indirect access to the sea. A country which – due to its size, as I mentioned – must engage in foreign trade cannot afford to ignore the opportunity of sea trade, and therefore it needs an accessible exit to the sea. There are two possibilities: Fiume – which is now called Rijeka [in Croatia] – and Koper [in Slovenia]. Even earlier, during our first term in government, we tried to bet on the Croatian horse, but once the deal fell through other possibility – cooperating with the Slovenians – came to the fore. Today cooperation with them appears to be more substantial, and it seems a more realistic option to sign business agreements on this with the Slovenians rather than with the Croatians. And the situation is the same with regard to rail freight. I would never have thought that the high-speed Belgrade-Budapest rail freight line would be built before the Zagreb-Budapest line was modernised; priorities have clearly changed, however. So while we are naturally interested in rebuilding our relations with Croatia, the past five years cannot be undone, and new priorities and new considerations have emerged in Hungary’s foreign policy.

I have already mentioned Slovenia. I have to say that this is a neglected facet of Hungary’s foreign policy. I think they are a cooler people, of course, also for geographical reasons, than we Hungarians are. It is enough to look at the Hungarian traditional folk dance, the csárdás, and its Slovenian equivalent – one can see the difference. I am saying this because I recently saw one follow the other at a cultural event in Lendava. Anyway, one can immediately see that it is not so easy to find the common denominator, the common harmony between these two nations; but it is not impossible. Our two nations were brought together in our cooperation by an external problem which threatens us both, and now I cannot remember the time when Slovenian-Hungarian relations have been as good and meaningful as they are now, and when good intentions and the will to come to a mutual agreement and to seek mutual benefits in our relations have been as strong as they are at present. So we have high hopes for our economic cooperation with the Slovenians. After all, it is a rich, intelligent and prosperous country with a structurally sound economy.

And naturally we cannot avoid saying a few words about Ukraine. When we speak of Ukraine we of course also think of Russia. This is a tradition in Hungarian foreign policy, and in this department we should voice our doubts and concerns. Today we cannot see how this neighbour of ours,  which is so important to us, will become a country under the rule of law which is able to stand on its own two feet, will have an economic structure based on the western model, and will be able to integrate into the European economic scene. We are rooting for them, we hope they will succeed and want them to succeed, but right now we cannot foresee what sort of timescale we are talking about, and when this will happen. Yesterday, too, I pointed out that it is wise to separate that which we have from that which we would like to have. This is also true of Ukraine. Yet I would like to repeat and draw your attention to one of the most important national strategy and security principles of Hungary’s foreign policy: between Russia and Hungary there must always be something – which we could indeed call Ukraine. The essence of the matter is this: it is a crucial Hungarian interest that we should not have a border with Russia. There should be a physical space, a distance, between the two countries which gives us at least a sense of security. I am not saying this feeling needs to be mutual, as a flea should not give advice to an elephant, and should not speak in the same sphere. Both the history and military power and significance of the two countries are proof of this Hungarian interest and this approach in Hungarian diplomacy. We have a vested interest in the advancement of Ukraine. At the same time, we have no interest in having Hungary dragged into an anti-Russian international coalition because of Ukraine. One cannot always choose one’s place in a coalition like this.

There is no doubt that we are under enormous pressure, as there are many who see the establishment of such an anti-Russian international coalition as being in their best interests. I also said this yesterday: this is not our path, this is not our approach, and this is not in our interest. At the same time, I would like to make clear that the situation is somewhat easier than before, since there is at least the stable reference point in the Minsk Protocol – as much as the terms of such an international agreement can be called stable. But there is an international document, the Minsk Protocol, which was signed by the parties to the conflict: Ukraine and Russia. It has an action plan which must be implemented, and based on that action plan we can determine which party honoured it and to what extent. And there is no bias in this, there is no national perspective in this, there is only one thing in this: if there is an agreement, it must be observed. Let us see whether it has been observed or not. This debate will be tabled within the European Union. The Italian prime minister left no room for doubt about the fact that we shall have to discuss progress in the implementation of the Minsk Protocol on its merits, which means that towards the middle of the year we should expect a very serious debate within the EU on this. In other words, extension of the sanctions against Russia will not be automatic. Whatever decision we come to, that decision will have to be preceded by an objective, calm and factual analysis of the Minsk Protocol.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This has been more or less my keynote address. I would perhaps add that you can do your jobs in peace; well, as much as any Hungarian diplomat has ever been able to do their job in peace at any time in Hungarian history. You can do your jobs in peace inasmuch as a calm and balanced homeland is a precondition of calm and balanced diplomacy. In this respect today you are in a good position. This is partly because – as you may have heard – within the Government the prestige of the Ministry is high. It is perfectly obvious to everyone that diplomacy is not some gentlemanly entertainment, but one of the key elements of Hungary’s economic policy strategy. So you, too, are key elements in this. The support needed for diplomatic success continues to be available within the Government. You can see our budget figures. We can hear things about Hungary’s economic policy which may have sounded like complete lunacy a year or two ago, such as a zero budget – which should not be understood as a zero budget excluding government debt, but a zero budget including government debt. Whether we manage to achieve this or not is another matter, but the fact that this idea has even appeared on the horizon amply demonstrates that the Hungarian economy is rather stable, and its finances are balanced. Or you may have heard recently that Hungary is perhaps the best performer in the European Union – or among the best – in terms of government debt reduction relative to GDP. This does not mean that everything is perfectly in order, of course, as debt of 75–76% of gross domestic product is no reason for complacency. But it is true that while our government debt is decreasing, almost everyone else’s is on the rise, and countries much stronger than us have exceeded 100%. What we have here is “the lower, the better”. So what I want to say is that the support from homeland is available, both as regards the prestige of foreign affairs within the Government, and financial stability as the supporting pillar of diplomacy. And the cooperation of the Visegrád Four gives us a kind of regional stability. Given that I believe that we are pursuing a nationally-oriented foreign policy strategy designed with painstaking attention to detail, this has the added benefit that Hungarian diplomacy is highly respected, and therefore so is Hungary itself. In foreign policy, respect and appreciation does not mean that only good things are said about us. That would in fact be a sign of lack of respect. On the contrary, plenty of bad things are said about us. This is not necessarily ideal, and there is no need to go overboard, but the fact that the ideas and proposals raised by a country of ten million within an integration structure of five hundred million attract global attention and are seriously considered is a major achievement, and this clearly shows that your work is worthwhile. You have my encouragement. I await your proposals. To aid the Government’s strategists, we await as many in-depth proposals as possible on Hungary’s future and its foreign policy strategy to be communicated from our colleagues in foreign affairs through our Foreign Minister.

Thank you for your attention. Congratulations on the excellent work done over the past year.