’We can look back on the last two years as a successful period, because Hungary has been able to stabilise itself’: this is how Prime Minister Viktor Orbán summed up the Government’s first two years in office. He drew attention to the fact that government finances are stable, that next year the budget deficit will continue to be under three per cent, and that a new constitution has been created.
Mr. Orbán was speaking on Thursday at a conference organised by the Századvég Foundation, the Széll Kálmán Foundation and the publishers of the political weekly Heti Válasz. The event was attended by ministers, leaders of state organs, analysts and diplomats.
The Prime Minister described the stabilisation process of the last two years as having ’pulled back the horses from the brink of the precipice.’ Hungary has established an appropriate taxation regime and disciplined fiscal management, and has committed itself to reduction of the budget deficit and government debt.
Referring to the years ahead, he said that ‘Hungary must prepare for a post-crisis world order, in which it remains part of the transatlantic system for international security, Central European co-operation and the European economic zone.’
The Prime Minister said that ‘Over the next two years we shall finish the task of replacing the welfare state with a state based on work.’ He went on to say that the country must break the habits of ‘self-pity, submissiveness, a “hand-to-mouth survival ethic” and living on other countries’ money.’
Naturally, Hungary needs to take further steps towards increasing its competitive advantage: the budget must be moved into positive territory; government debt must be reduced to below 50 per cent of GDP (at least 10-14 per cent could be managed every four years, he said); the country must be re-industrialised; energy independence must be achieved and nuclear power must be developed; full employment must be an aim; negative demographic trends must be reversed; and ‘our talented compatriots must be attracted back home.’
At the same time Mr. Orbán said that Hungary should reject the crisis management measures proposed by the EU, and that we should ‘follow our own path.’ This means resisting those pressures which would see the introduction in the country of measures damaging to the interests of Hungarians. The Prime Minister said that European democracies will also be endangered, because a crisis has emerged which demands measures which people do not want to accept. Thanks to a two-thirds political majority, social stability will not be disrupted in Hungary, however. Once again he thanked those hundreds of thousands who participated in January’s Peace March for Hungary, and who stood by the Government in the country’s largest display of public unity in recent decades.
(Ministry of Public Administration and Justice)