Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the opening ceremony for Ericsson House Budapest
29 May 2018, Budapest

Honourable President-Chief Executive, Your Excellency, Honourable Rector, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Every era has its own challenges. Good answers to these challenges emerge if we are not content to merely follow conventional logic. We do well if we are also able to shape reality according to our own way of thinking, to our own will. As a politician, in this I see the essence of innovation. This is why Ericsson enjoys unconditional respect among those involved in state government – not only in Hungary, but, in my experience, across the whole of Europe. Honourable Chief Executive, in this area Ericsson qualifies as one of the truly “big guns”. Shaping reality according to our way of thinking, levering reality towards us is now also a well-established idea in Hungary. Today Hungarians once more believe that they are capable of more than just skilful tactical manoeuvring and opportunism. Today Hungary dares not only to think, but – every now and then – to think in Hungarian. This is clearly visible in Hungary’s tax system, in its budget management and in its system of investment support; but we can also see it in our foreign policy, in defence of our borders and in migration policy. This is also why we are here today. We are following our own logic. For this, Ladies and Gentlemen, we have the right qualities; because – like our Swedish guests – we Hungarians also have a unique language, and in consequence a unique mentality. We always see, describe and understand the world differently from other people. Perhaps this is why in the past they described Hungarian scientists in America as having arrived from Mars. They may have come from there, but we can agree with the other nations of the world that it is our duty is to make the Earth a better place.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Honourable Chief Executive,

From the beginning, the Hungarians stood alongside the Swedes among the European pioneers in telecommunications. Our revolutionary was Tivadar Puskás. Thanks to him, Hungary relatively quickly advanced to the forefront of the telecommunications sector. This also became apparent to your founder, Lars Magnus Ericsson, the father of Swedish telecommunications. In 1911 the first foreign investor here in this sector was Ericsson. For us Hungarians this was a historic moment. More than a hundred years ago we entered into a strategic alliance with the Swedish people. At that time we may even have been one step ahead of the world. Now, when revolutionary changes are sweeping through the telecommunications sector and the whole world, we would like to carve out the same kind of competitive advantage for ourselves.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We can see encouraging signs. Over the past few years the digital economy has accounted for almost one quarter – more than 20 per cent – of Hungary’s economic growth. This sector is now of strategic significance, but we need a few thousand more small and medium-sized enterprises with export capabilities, and some ten thousand young engineers and IT specialists. This is why we have supported, and continue to support, growth of the sector: between 2010 and 2014 we assisted the development of more than 1,100 businesses, while between 2014 and 2021 we will spend a record amount of money – more than 130 billion forints – on telecommunications development. We plan to use this sum to benefit more than eight thousand companies. In the past few years the Government has also entered into strategic agreements with eleven players in the sector, and we would also like to continue this work in the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dataism, information flow and technology are today spoken of as a new movement in economic philosophy, which has indeed opened a new era in the history of 21st-century humanity. Not only in politics, but also in the economy, in science and in intellectual life, the leaders of Hungary must understand that those who want to hold their own in the battles for the future must learn to navigate on the ocean of data streams and information flow. The information technology seers and scientists of the 21st-century are to humanity what the great maritime nations were in the 16th and 17th centuries. In its economic policy, the Hungarian government has committed itself to this future. We want to be conquerors and winners in the ever-expanding world offered by a science which shows explosive development. As we see it, a country which misses out on this could remain at a disadvantage for a long time. We have created a Ministry of Innovation and Technology to enable us to be among the nations which discover and conquer the future. We have understood the message that the countries which will be competitive in the future will be those which prepare their workers and businesses for the application of new technologies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When Ericsson came to this country, in the dawn of the period following communism, they did not set up an assembly plant or a components factory, but immediately established a software development centre. They instantly recognised that Hungarian intellectual capital is of a truly European quality, and by 1992 they had cooperated with the Budapest University of Technology to establish a laboratory for research into high-speed networks. Asked why they decided on this, Ericsson’s former president Lars Ramqvist gave this pithy reply: “Ericsson is a multinational company which moves to places where knowledge lives.” Hungary has always been a home to knowledge, despite sometimes suffering disturbingly adverse conditions. It is not easy to list all the things that have happened in cooperation with Ericsson. Ericsson House, which we are inaugurating today, will meet the most exacting demands of the future. We are proud that here on the banks of the Danube, neighbouring the Technical University and ELTE University, we now see one of Ericsson’s largest research and development centres, one of Hungary’s largest and most modern server rooms, and Ericsson’s innovation workshop, Ericsson Garage – I particularly congratulate you for choosing that name. For me what is most important – and perhaps this says it all about the essence of this cooperation – is that the largest Hungarian universities are only a short walk from your company.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Finally, as far as I see – and we also spoke about this with the President-Chief Executive today – there are four things we can use to make our strategic alliance with Ericsson successful. There are few countries in Europe where one can find all four opportunities: outstanding specialists; modern education founded on an extensive knowledge base; government support for research and development; and – although the Finance Minister is not here now – a committed fiscal policy which over the coming years will channel increasing funds into this sector. These are the four factors which will enable us to raise the alliance between Hungary and Ericsson to an even higher level. And these are the four factors which will also enable us to gain a competitive edge in ever fiercer global competition: both Ericsson and Hungary; together, combining their efforts. Chief Executive, we are grateful that you have come here. It is a great honour for Hungary.

Thank you for your attention.