Before introducing the 14 ministers who make up his fifth government, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán spoke to members of the Hungarian National Assembly about this government’s key tasks for the next four years.
“In the more than three decades of Hungary's post-1990 history,” PM Orbán began, “never since 1990 has there been such a large and united electoral will behind a government as the one that has rallied behind the cabinet now taking office.” According to the prime minister, “this is confidence partly earned and partly anticipated,” therefore, he expects the members of government to preserve the trust they have earned and make the trust anticipated a reality.
“This will be a particularly challenging task now because we have barely recovered from the coronavirus, there is a war in our neighborhood, and Brussels is confused, so we cannot expect any help from there,” Prime Minister Orbán said. He added that the decade between 2020 and 2030 will be a decade of dangers, uncertainty and war.
“In such an era,” he continued, “Hungary cannot afford the luxury of irresponsibility, disunity and weakness.” According to PM Orbán, what is needed now is a government that has “real guts,” one that will act responsibly, unite the country and show the necessary strength.
The main tasks of Hungary’s new government are to preserve and even strengthen the physical, material and cultural security of the Carpathian Basin and Hungary, to support Hungarian families, to strengthen Hungarian businesses, and to keep the Hungarian economy on a growth path.
PM Orbán said that it was with this in mind that he compiled his new government. He then went on to introduce the members of the cabinet.
Minister of Justice Judit Varga, a lawyer by trade who has been serving as Hungary’s justice minister since July 2019, will fill the same role in the next four years. She will watch over Hungary’s constitutional order and make sure that the word of the Fundamental Law is obeyed; to this end, Minister Varga will gain veto powers over ministry proposals.
“During the 16 years we served together, he has carried out every task with precision and therefore enjoys my unconditional confidence,” Prime Minister Orbán said about Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér, who will continue to serve in this position after successfully leading the portfolio in all previous Orbán governments. According to the PM, Minister Pintér demonstrated his fitness for the job by restoring public security, curbing crime, and carrying out the reform of Hungary’s police force, as well as by organizing the defense against coronavirus and the welcoming of Ukrainian refugees.
Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, who is also president of the Christian Democratic People’s Party, will be responsible for church affairs and policies relating to Hungarian minorities in the Carpathian Basin. “It will be Zsolt Semjén’s task to represent the interests of Hungarians as a whole,” PM Orbán said.
János Csák, a Hungarian businessman, university lecturer, Hungary’s former ambassador to the United Kingdom, and a newcomer to PM Orbán’s government, will oversee the newly established Ministry of Culture and Innovation. According to the prime minister, Csák’s position could also be called “Minister of the Future,” as his portfolio includes family policy, culture, higher education, vocational training and innovation. “You have a complex task ahead of you, dear Minister, as your job requires a unique personality who knows the world of business, is not lost in the modern maze of intellectual debates, and is both disciplined and looking for ways to go beyond the limits of today's realities,” PM Orbán told the new minister in his address.
In the upcoming four years, the Ministry of Finance will remain under the leadership of Mihály Varga, one of PM Orbán’s most trusted colleagues and a battle-proven finance expert. It is Varga’s main task in the new government to maintain the hard-earned balance between state expenditures and economic growth.
“It is beyond a doubt that the most complex task belongs to Minister Palkovics,” Prime Minister Orbán said, introducing the former minister of innovation and technology in his new role heading the Ministry of Technology and Industry. The Széchenyi Award-laureate mechanical engineer will be responsible for matching Hungary’s energy system to our contemporary challenges, mitigating the dangers of Hungary’s uncertain energy supply, and striking the right balance between economic growth and environmental policy.
An agricultural engineer by trade, Agriculture Minister István Nagy, who has been in the role since 2018, gets to continue the work he started over the last four years and guarantee that Hungary’s agricultural sector remains on a growth track.
Tibor Navracsics served as Hungary’s minister of justice between 2010 and 2014, foreign minister in 2014, and European commissioner for education, culture, youth and sport between 2014 and 2019. The lawyer and university teacher now returns to the fifth Orbán government to head the Ministry of Regional Development and Utilization of EU Funds.
Prime Minister Orbán asked Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, Hungary’s former ambassador to the UK, to lead the Ministry of Defense in the incoming government. According to PM Orbán, Szalay-Bobrovniczky’s task will be to develop the Hungarian army into one of the most potent in the region and even turn Hungary into a center for military industry.
“In the upcoming years, Hungary’s sovereignty and independence will come under multiple attacks. And defending the country’s sovereignty is the prime minister’s number one responsibility,” PM Orbán said. He added that this is why he has once again appointed Antal Rogán as the minister leading the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister. In this role, Rogán will make sure that there is continuous dialogue between the government and the people of Hungary. “In this war-fueled decade, it will be particularly important that both our supporters and our opponents understand what we do and why we do it,” PM Orbán said.
János Lázár, former Fidesz group leader, state secretary, and minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office, will return to the cabinet to head the Ministry of Construction and Investment. His key task will be to unify this formerly “fragmented” portfolio and oversee government investments, construction rules, and our architectural heritage, as well as exercise “good taste” in public construction projects.
Minister of Economic Development Márton Nagy is a fresh face in the fifth Orbán cabinet. The former deputy governor of the National Bank of Hungary will propose new, innovative and “unorthodox” methods to help Hungary weather the incoming European economic fallback.
Prime Minister Orbán maintains his confidence in Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó, who has served as Hungary’s top diplomat since 2014. According to the PM, Szijjártó’s main focus will remain on representing Hungarian national interest abroad, strengthening relationships with our allies, and boosting trade and investment relations around the world. “I ask that you continue to play all instruments. You must be as smart as a snake and as gentle as a pigeon,” PM Orbán told Minister Szijjártó.
Last, but not least, Minister Gergely Gulyás gets another four years as minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office. His responsibility will be strategic planning and synchronizing the day-to-day work of all other ministries.