The prime minister attended the annual opening ceremony of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK) this Thursday, sharing his insights alongside Minister of Finance Mihály Varga, Minister Márton Nagy on future economic prospects.
In his address, Viktor Orbán started out by saying that the current war is also about restructuring Europe's fabric of power and economy and warned that with Europe disconnected from the Russian economy "one dependence has only been replaced by another".
On this, PM Orbán added that with the possibility of Ukraine joining the EU and NATO in the future, a “previously unseen Central European hub will rise up” that will be Polish-Ukrainian centered.
On the topic of Ukraine’s future, PM Orbán added that the European Union has already given Ukraine 18 billion euros this year excluding military support.
With the Americans and the IMF contributing roughly the same amount, the Western world will contribute 50-55 billion euros per year to keep Ukraine in power.
He warned that these growing burdens indicate a trajectory that “if we are not careful, some of the blocked Hungarian cohesion funds may end up in Ukraine".
With this, according to the prime minister “a new security policy zone is taking shape in Central Europe”, with a significant part of US troop reinforcements coming to the region. On this PM Orbán noted that “it is in the fundamental interest of Hungarian foreign and economic policy to salvage as much as possible from Russian-Hungarian relations, but the question is how much of this remains.”
Circling back to the blocked funding by the European Union, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán declared that with the European Union endangering Hungarian universities' competitive advantage, all Erasmus funding will be maintained even it will be funded entirely from the Hungarian budget, adding that the government will provide increased funding for research with or without EU backing.
In his speech the prime minister also talked about key industrial sectors that will give the economic backbone in Hungary for the coming years.
PM Orbán said that as the EU has decided that fossil-fueled vehicles will no longer be manufactured after 2035, “if we are unable to produce the components required for electric propulsion, they will be manufactured elsewhere, and our traditional car factories will gradually close down”, which would be devastating as 300,000 families work in automobile plants and factories in Hungary.
The prime minister further elaborated on the topic, sharing that the Hungarian automotive industry produced HUF 12.000 billion last year, setting a record alongside the food industry producing more than HUF 6,000 billion for the first time, while the metal industry produced HUF 4,000 billion.
For this reason, “the battery issue is a strategic issue” PM Orbán said, adding that “every Hungarian citizen has the right to live in a hospitable environment and reassured the public, that “Hungary continues to apply the strictest safety standards to all industrial projects”, even more so than the German standards.
In his closing remarks Viktor Orbán said that while "there will be great pressure, we will be squeezed, but we are strong enough to stay out of the war” and “will continue to veto sanctions that are detrimental to Hungary's interests.”
On this note, he reassured that the government “will maintain Russian energy supplies, will be able to finance the price cuts, we will be able to protect and even increase the 4.7 million jobs” alongside supporting small and medium-sized enterprises with special programs and through stimulating investment.
In his closing remarks PM Orbán said “We will build the energy capacities needed for this, and we will maintain export-led growth as a strategy, while at the same time bringing down inflation."