Hungarians are a “people of freedom” and can turn into “freedom fighters” if necessary, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said in Győr, in north-western Hungary, marking the 175th anniversary of the 1848-49 revolution and freedom fight on Wednesday.
Accepting the title of honorary citizen of the city, Minister Szijjártó said Hungary had emerged from all crises of the past 13 years stronger than before. The country delivered a “Hungarian response” to every ordeal, neither seeking “guidelines” nor trying to “meet expectations”, but “looking only to national interests”, he added. Hungary “climbed out of a hole” when the economy reached a low point because of the global financial crisis thanks to national cooperation, and has since built one of the fastest-developing economies in Europe, he said. Szijjártó said Hungary had been “overrun by migrant hordes who showed no respect for people living here” eight years earlier, while many in Europe wanted to strip the country of its right to decide “with whom we want to live”. Even then, Hungary didn’t sacrifice its freedom, but protected its borders, its citizens and “the right to decide with whom we’re prepared to live together in this beautiful country”, he said. During the pandemic, Hungary resisted external pressure, insisting that “saving lives is not a matter of politics or ideology”, he added. He said “great powers” have tried to “press” Hungary into the war, adding that nobody can “drag” the country into a war that “is not ours”. He said Hungary had also preserved its freedom with regard to which measures it decides to support or not support in Brussels. The government is leading the country “in the spirit of 1848”, he added. Szijjártó said that since taking a seat on the Gyor municipal council 25 years earlier, at the age of 20, the city had become a “bastion of the automotive industry”, while the local Széchenyi István University had become an “intellectual hub” for the country.