Statement by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to the M1 news channel following his meeting with Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz

21 June 2024, Berlin

Katalin Noll: Prime Minister, you spent more than an hour in talks with your German counterpart, the German chancellor Olaf Scholz. What was discussed? Thousands of German companies are operating in Hungary. Can this cooperation be expanded?

There were two topics for discussion: European affairs, because Hungary will take over the Presidency [of the Council of the EU] on 1 July; and German–Hungarian bilateral relations. As far as German–Hungarian relations are concerned, the basis, the solid basis, is economic cooperation, and today we agreed with the Chancellor that these foundations must be further strengthened; and so we’ll expand German–Hungarian relations. Last year trade between our two countries reached a record high of over 70 billion euros, with a quarter of all goods exported from Hungary coming here to Germany. German companies employ around 250–300,000 people in Hungary – mainly in the automotive industry. We also agreed that a generational change is taking place in the automotive industry, and it’s very important that Hungary should also be part of this German technological change – because German companies are involved in this global competition. This is especially true because we’re one of the three countries in the world where all three major German car manufacturers are present. China, Germany and Hungary are the only such countries. This gives Hungary a prominent role in the operation of German industry, and we hope this will create jobs, economic growth and tax revenues. And we’ve confirmed this. This is the backbone of German–Hungarian relations. Economic cooperation will remain the backbone. The second topic was the European Union semester, in relation to which we stated that the European Union’s competitiveness – its competitiveness within the world economy – must be increased. Hungary stands ready to table a major plan in order to increase European competitiveness. We’re already discussing this with the other Member States, so that Europe doesn’t isolate itself, doesn’t react to changes in the world on the basis of a logic of fear, but expands economic relations, strengthens the system of relations throughout the world, and doesn’t shut itself off, but instead is ready to compete. These were the main themes.

There’s a politician of German descent, Manfred Weber, who could be a problem in Brussels – and the German newspapers have touched on the fact that he doesn’t like Hungary.

Look, Mr. Manfred Weber is a Hungarophobe: he hates Hungarians, and he’s always hated us. Because of us he didn’t become President of the Commission; we thwarted his ambitions. He’s one of our oldest adversaries, one of our enemies in European politics, and now he leads the European People’s Party. What we’ve made clear to the German chancellor is that the conflicts between Hungary and Manfred Weber aren’t German–Hungarian conflicts, and they won’t be a burden on German–Hungarian cooperation: they’re part of a Brussels–Hungarian conflict.

As you’ve just mentioned, Prime Minister, Hungary is about to take over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. There are issues, such as gender ideology and migration; can Hungary take greater steps in these areas, or better represent its position through the Presidency?

All this gender nonsense, which is upsetting the traditional order of bringing up children and the traditional European order of coexistence, isn’t included – not directly included – in the programme of the Hungarian presidency. We don’t want to deal with it, and we don’t even understand exactly what it is. We have a life, and we want to live it as we’ve lived it so far. One thing is important, however: one of the priorities of the Hungarian presidency will be to improve the demographic situation in Europe – in other words, how governments can help one another so that we can all help families better. This topic is on the agenda of the Hungarian presidency. Migration was also included, of course, and on that we’ll do everything we can to ensure that Europe continues to belong to Europeans.

Thank you very much.