János Áder’s speech in the Hungarian National Assembly after being elected

I am convinced that our new Basic Law outlines the right track and the right framework for us to always find the right answers as a political nation to the basic questions and challenges of the 21st Century.

My fellow Hungarians! I wish now to address a special message to all those who face the hardships of everyday life in raising their children, caring for their families, their loved ones, their elderly parents and grandparents. To all those who are in need of consolation and all those who offer consolation to others. To all those honestly seeking the way to personal and collective prosperity.

Let me promise you all, that I as President of the Republic will represent you and your interests, always and everywhere, whether at home or abroad. I will be a spokesman for Hungary’s interests and values. I will speak out for our interests and values, whether cultural or economic. I would like you to know, I would like all Hungarians to know that the ornate walls of the Sándor Palace will not hide my country from me.

It is my duty to promote dialogue at last on issues we have not really had either the energy or the attention to face so far. I will be satisfied if I feel able to say in five years’ time that as a result we can all agree on at least a few apparently small but in reality basically important issues.On how we should value performance, for example. For that is something we have owed ourselves for a long time.

On a memorable day, 200 years ago, when he offered to donate his estates’ yearly revenue to set up the Academy of Sciences, Széchenyi wrote a simple, short sentence in his diary. “November 3, 1825. I addressed the meeting of the constituencies, and turned all my fellow countrymen into my enemies.”

What Széchenyi told the meeting of the constituencies represented in Parliament is well known. He offered the yearly revenue of all his estates. But how did he conclude from that that he had thus turned his fellow countrymen against him? Was it not fashionable at the time to appreciate selflessness? Did envy, discord and self-interest flourish in the Hungary of that time? And supposing that to be the case; what would Széchenyi write in his diary today, almost 200 years later?

My fellow countrymen! Let us take a deep breath at long last and rid ourselves of all the curses and bad habits we have accumulated in the past!

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