15th January 2018

New Year Reception for the Diplomatic Corps

Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Friends!

My wife and I would like to thank you all for the good wishes we received during the holidays and tonight. We too want to take this opportunity to wish you All a calm, peaceful, serene and successful new year spent in good health.

This year – just like every fourth year since 1990 – there will be general elections in Hungary. The date of the elections has already been set, for the 8th of April.

Although election campaigns always – and not just in Hungary – trigger vehement emotions, I take every chance to ask and encourage public figures to demonstrate appropriate respect towards each other and not to dismiss altogether the possibility that the opponent may also be right and can also be driven by honest intentions.

I have always asked the political parties to counter arguments with arguments rather than passion against passion and I continue to do just that.

The next three months will be a period for anxious guessing. Who will win the elections? What will the composition of the next government be? How is government policy going to change?

While during the election campaign parties will – as expected – attempt to highlight the existing differences in their programmes, let me now focus on what will remain UNCHANGED after the elections, whichever way the citizens might decide. Framing it differently, focusing upon your area of expertise, are there issues, where Hungary’s foreign policy is predictable and foreseeable, regardless of the outcome of the elections?

I’d like to draw your attention to six areas:

Number One: all parties think that we, Hungarians, are and will remain citizens of the European Union. We may, on occasions, have fierce controversies with the Brussels institutions, we may see the future of Europe differently, discuss the amount of and the way in which development funds are used, or mandatory quotas, for instance. What matters, though, is that we engage in these debates not against but for the Union, for the sake of its more successful operation.

Number Two: in the context of international stability, we continue to attribute key importance to the North Atlantic cooperation and to the role of NATO. We meet all our obligations resulting from that alliance. This year we are launching military developments that will also allow us to settle our long-outstanding debts towards NATO.

Number Three: It comes naturally to us and is also set in our constitution that the current and all other governments of Hungary assume responsibility for those fellow countrymen of ours as well, who live outside of Hungary’s borders and whose ancestors in most cases did not voluntarily become citizens elsewhere.


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