“Migration will completely reshape the world in which we live, and everything that happens in 2050 and beyond will be a consequence of what is happening now,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at a conference on Wednesday organised by the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK).
Those who fail to protect themselves now will no longer have the chance to do so in 2050-60, Orbán said.
When we talk about the effects of migration on Europe, it is about our children and grandchildren and their safety.”
Addressing the business representatives at the conference, Orbán said: “Your economic successes will be pointless if your grandchildren and children take over your companies in a world which is not a good place to live in.”
Upcoming tasks, he said, include designing a strategy for supporting Hungarian companies’ outward investment. Hungarian companies must join the global economic competition, he said, but this required generating resources. Central bank governor György Matolcsy has been tasked with preparing this strategy, he noted, adding that Hungarian companies must make at least as much abroad as foreigners make in Hungary.
Left to right: Finance Minister Mihály Varga, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry President László Parragh and central bank governor György Matolcsy. Photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI
Orbán also identified turning around Hungary’s population decline and setting the economy on a path of sustainable growth that exceeds the European Union average by 2 percentage points as key objectives. The government’s family support initiatives will help to halt population decline in the country, he added.
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Further, vocational training would be “radically reformed”, Orbán said.
Orbán insisted that anyone who strove for a united states of Europe was pro-migration and wanted a Europe altered by immigrants.
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Meanwhile, he said goals to be reached by 2030 included making Hungary one of the top five EU countries and among the five most competitive states.
Further, the Carpathian Basin must be reconstructed in both the physical and economic sense, and central Europe must become a real economic area, Orbán said. True energy independence must also come about, requiring the development of the Paks nuclear power plant, increasing the amount of solar energy and making fossil fuels available by new means such as gas extracted in Romania and the Turkish Stream pipeline being routed to Hungary. Also, pending an agreement with Slovenia, Italian LNG should also be made available in Hungary, he added.
Orbán addressed the Hungarian economic and social policy model, saying protections of individual dignity, property and free enterprise, family, national and religious communities grew out of Christian culture.
The prime minister underlined the importance of keeping the budget deficit below 3 percent of GDP, reducing government debt and ultimately making the debt Hungarian. “Indeed, it would be better in the end for Hungary to be a creditor rather than a debtor,” he said.
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He said the work-based economy, family support system, full employment and industrial reforms were the pillars of the Hungarian economic model.
Orbán warned, however, that unless Hungarian companies renewed their activities, boosted their efficiency and responded to the increase in wage costs, they may fail.
Since Hungary’s population is unlikely to grow significantly in the near future, the economy will have 5 million workers at its disposal, so no expansion will be possible due to new employees entering the job market. But labour reserves are still available in cross-border formations, he added.
Orbán identified farming and the food industry based on it, as well as sport and culture, as prime areas on which domestic businesses can grow.
Addressing the relationship between the National Bank of Hungary (NBH) and the government, Orbán said the independence of the central bank as laid down in the constitution did not exclude the possibility of working together. A lack of cooperation would mean the separation of the real economy and the financial sector, he added.
György Matolcsy, governor of National Bank of Hungary. Photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI
Economic policy, he said, should be based on two kinds of vision simultaneously: one innovative and courageous, represented by central bank governor György Matolcsy, and the other rooted to the ground, as represented by Mihály Varga, the finance minister.
Orbán told the chief executives present that Hungary was now in a rising phase. The challenge to Hungarians is not to take their successes for granted and let them go, putting off steps forward that fall beyond their comfort zone. “The reward for success … is to work even harder because if we don’t keep on peddling, the bicycle will fall over,” he added.
featured image: Viktor Orbán; via Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI