I am pleased to see you, and I thank the Chancellor for her invitation. This meeting will be our third since July 2018. In July 2018 the Chancellor proposed a positive agenda that included cooperation in innovation, digitalisation and the arms industry, as well as cooperation in research and development. At our meeting today I would like us to review the results of this agenda.
Before that I can tell you that every year German-Hungarian trade has reached new peaks; the figure for 2019 will exceed 55 billion euros – when the final figures are released, we will see that it surpassed 55 billion. I’m not talking about the V4 now, but German-Hungarian bilateral trade relations. Of course what we will talk about are bilateral issues, but they also have a European dimension: this positive agenda that the Chancellor has proposed to us has consequences on a European scale, proving to be a good example of how Europe can be kept together, how its security can be increased, and how its competitiveness can be improved. I am also grateful for this meeting because we know that the Chancellor has insisted on discussing the issues of European competitiveness and industrial policy at the March EU summit. I see it as an important European Union summit, and I see competitiveness as the most important question in the year ahead: the question of how Europe can regain its competitiveness.
As far as enlargement is concerned, you know that Hungary is a spokesman for enlargement. Of course now everyone is talking about Macedonia and Albania, which is justified, understandable and right, but I will draw the Chancellor’s attention to the fact that the key country in relation to the integration of the entire Western Balkans is Serbia. The Serbian negotiations – negotiations with the Serbs – must be accelerated as soon as possible and taken to their final stage; because only their accession can guarantee the stability of the Western Balkans.
Obviously we will also be talking about the European Union budget. We approach this from different directions: the German viewpoint and the Hungarian viewpoint are different from each other. But there are some of us among the current leaders – not many, perhaps three or four of us – for whom this budget will not be the first they have participated in preparing, having been involved in preparation of the previous budget seven years ago. We know how this must be done, and while our starting points are far from one another and we look at the issue from different directions, I’m sure that eventually we’ll find the opportunity for an agreement that in the end is good for everyone. It’s true that this will not happen overnight, but will take some time.
So I’m grateful for this invitation, and I look forward to our talks with hope.