János Martonyi, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Friends of Hungary Foundation, publisher of Hungary Today and Ungarn Heute, was awarded this year’s prestigious József Antall Prize. The award, named after the first freely-elected Prime Minister, was given to the former Minister of Foreign Affairs in recognition of his efforts to further “the rise of the nation.”
At the award ceremony, Head of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás declared that no one had affected the change of the regime more than Prime Minister (PM) József Antall. After all, the former PM and his administration accomplished a historic task together. Gulyás also praised János Martonyi’s work as foreign minister and emphasized how, in 1994, Martonyi and former Hungarian President Ferenc Mádl had recognized that joint right-wing civil opposition was necessary for a future democratic government.
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Former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini praised Antall for paving Hungary’s way to the European Union and NATO. He referred to Martonyi as a friend and celebrated the work he did to increase Hungary and the Visegrad countries’ European significance.
In his thank you speech, Martonyi revealed that receiving a prize like this had deeply touched him. He explained how honored he is to win an award named after Antall, the Prime Minister of spirit, tranquility, serenity, humor and measure. Martonyi also referred to him as one of the most prominent Hungarian statesmen of the 20th century. Martonyi went on to explain that they had tried to realize “the main ideas of József Antall in terms of Hungarian national policy, Central European co-operation and European politics.”
The award was presented at the 10th anniversary of the Antall József Knowledge Center; János Martonyi is the sixth person to receive it.