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Sep 22, 2020

Address by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the inauguration of the Monostor Bridge

17 September 2020, Komárom (Komárno)

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, Honourable Prime Minister,

We have gathered here today for the inauguration of a fantastic bridge. The building of bridges is also the building of the future. And countries – including Hungary – must continue functioning, whether or not there is a virus. Our meeting today is proof that now the Danube does not separate the Slovak and Hungarian nations, but unites them. I have the personal privilege of inaugurating a second Danube bridge, because at a particular point in my youth, at a poetically young age, I also had the opportunity to inaugurate the Mária Valéria Bridge between Esztergom and Párkány [Stúrovo].

Honourable Prime Minister,

I came here not as one prime minister coming to meet another, but as a Hungarian coming to meet a Slovak. And I would like to deliver this message to you from Hungary: history has taught us Hungarians that we can only succeed when we are in alliance with one another and never when we turn against one another; but when we are in alliance, we will always succeed. Both these countries are beautiful countries in a very important location. Here, between the German and Russian spheres, if we fail to arrange this region’s affairs, then instead outsiders will organise them. No country on its own, however, is capable of structuring this region. That task requires at least four countries: Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. A network of roads and railway lines is a condition for the European Union’s effectiveness and competitiveness. The EU has participated in a fantastic project here, and this must be one of the best investments in its history. As Prime Minister of Hungary I can tell you that by 2025 nine Hungarian motorways will have been extended to the state borders. But as we are Hungarians, we are never satisfied – and although we have reason to be, we have fallen out of the habit. Now we could say how great it is that this bridge has been built, congratulate one another, eat and drink and celebrate. But as Hungarians say, “What we already have has already gone.” By this we mean that what we already have is no longer a task for the future, and so we don’t even have it any longer. Hungarians are only interested in what still lies ahead; that’s what animates us and keeps us alive. This is why the Honourable Prime Minister has yet to see a satisfied Hungarian. What came to my mind seeing this bridge? How good it is that we already have this – but we have two other tasks ahead of us, two enormous plans which we must implement: two genuine European arteries. One of these is a motorway coming down from Poland through Slovakia and Hungary, and down to Greece; this is a 3,300-kilometre-long road. And it occurred to me that so far we have only built 564 kilometres of it, with 87 still to be built in Hungary. This is something truly Hungarian: at an inauguration ceremony, what occurs to me is not what we already have, but that 87 kilometres of another road is still missing. Our other major joint plan is construction of a railway line which will link the capitals of the four countries of the V4. May the Honourable Prime Minister and I have the opportunity to inaugurate that together. That would mean long lives for both of us.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This bridge is also an extraordinary phenomenon in a legal sense. This bridge is the joint indivisible property of two states. If even just a few years ago someone had said that we would be able to build a bridge on the basis of the trust that it would be our shared property, we would have laughed at them; and yet today this seems perfectly natural. Why? Because from a Hungarian point of view, Hungarian-Slovak cooperation has never been better. Slovakia is Hungary’s third most important foreign trade partner. There are some 840 Slovak businesses operating in Hungary, providing jobs for 4,225 people. This is a great thing. I respectfully thank Slovakia, and I thank the Honourable Prime Minister.

Finally, with due modesty but self-confidence, we can say – and we here today can see – that here today Europe is being built: today Europe is being built in Central Europe; it is being built by Slovaks, Hungarians, Czechs and Poles. I thank everyone who worked on the construction of this bridge. My wish is that it will make life easier for local people here. May it bring joy to them – to both Slovaks and Hungarians.

Thank you very much for your attention.