While in recent years the answers that could have made Europe competitive have not been conceived, under the leadership of Poland, Central Europe’s economy conveys the promise of a success story, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told journalists on Monday in Bled, Slovenia.
The Prime Minister said he attended the Bled Strategic Forum, conducted bilateral talks with Central European prime ministers, and also met with representatives of the Hungarian community in Slovenia.
He took the view that what could of interest to members of the international public is how Central Europe’s elected political leaders envisage the future of Europe. “The discussion itself was an interesting civilisational conflict” at the forum because a journalist from a well-known “neo-Marxist British newspaper, The Guardian” acted as moderator, trying to intensely question the attending prime ministers about reality according to Western European linguistic terms, and it transpired that “we describe reality using different words, seeing it differently, and following from this, we see the issues of the future, too, differently,” he said.
Mr Orbán stressed it had become clear that Central European leaders saw three important issues as common tasks for the years ahead. The first one is that Serbia must be admitted to the European Union under any circumstances and within the shortest possible time because without Serbia the European security architecture is not complete, and “migrants, too, are coming from there,” he explained.
He said there is a country which should form part of Europe and the European Union. Despite this, it is in an in-between status which is entirely the EU’s fault. Serbia would be happy to join, it is possible to conduct negotiations with them, everyone appreciates that Serbia is important, and yet, the political courage and leadership decision-making competence it takes to cross this important threshold is missing in the EU, he said.
He observed that Hungary has a vested elementary interest in Serbia becoming a member of the EU within the shortest possible time, and we therefore support this country with all possible means.
The Prime Minister said security was also an important issue which leads to the economy because one can observe in the world that the United States and China have “outstripped us”. The reason why they overtook the European Union is that they have the military capacity which makes ongoing scientific renewal possible.
He said the modern world’s greatest discoveries which determine economic development usually enter the realm of civilian life from defence industry research. As long as there is no European army and a research capability behind it, we will not be able to catch up with the great powers that determine the speed and direction of technology, he said, adding that we would need a European military force.
According to Mr Orbán, the third important question is competitiveness from the respect of the production of goods. The reason why European goods are not purchased is that our standards are no longer what they once were or the quality of competitors’ products is better, we charge overly high prices, taxes are too high and bureaucracy abounds, he listed.
He said the European economy should be “streamlined” to make it competitive.
The Prime Minister said the same problems have persisted for some time now, they have been identified, but in recent years the answers that could have made the European Union competitive have not been conceived.
He highlighted that it is good news at the same time that, under the leadership of Poland – whose economy is the most robust in Central Europe – the economy of the V4 and the region conveys the promise of a success story. The pandemic is not sparing us either, we must fight for every single job and investment, but on the whole, this region is much more promising from the viewpoint of international competitiveness than the rest of the EU, and Hungary is located in this part of Europe, he recalled.
Mr Orbán also spoke about the fact that the sensation of belonging to the Hungarian community appears to be emerging also in this region. “In nursery schools, schools, culture centres where real life is taking place” one can sense in Prekmurje (Muravidék) that there is a motherland which looks after and cooperates with the Hungarians living there, he said.
The Prime Minister welcomed the fact that in Slovenia a right-wing, national government is in power at present which wants to cooperate. They are close to identifying the details of a programme, as part of which the Slovenian government will support the Prekmurje region, while the Hungarian government the Rábavidék (Porabje) region with larger sums of money. As a result, the leaders of the two countries will commit also personally to bettering the lives of Slovenians in Hungary and Hungarians in Slovenia, he explained.
He took the view that they are making much better progress now, and with the incumbent Slovenian government they have found a form of cooperation – that the Left over there is attacking – that is based on mutual trust and national friendship. In Slovenia, too, there is a keen fight, the same as in Hungary, “also here, they dig you in the ribs if you want to do something,” he said.
He stressed that on the whole Hungarian-Slovenian cooperation is better than ever.
(MTI/Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister)