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Coronavirus – Orbán Visiting Audi: Rebooting Economy Requires Major Gov’t Support

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.06.15.

Visiting the German carmaker Audi’s plant in Győr on Monday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said major government support was required to reboot the economy.

Engine and vehicle production is resuming at the Audi plant today.

Orbán said even “world-class factories” such as Audi’s were susceptible to the virus pandemic, and its Hungarian plant, too, would require government help.

Orbán pledged to help all workers and engineers working at the plant and to provide financial support for the factory to operate at full capacity.

“Not only will we survive the crisis, but we will emerge from it stronger”, the prime minister said.

He added, at the same time, that it was crucial that factory owners, managers and workers “make good deals”.

“Jobs can only be protected through deals,” Orbán said.

The prime minister said it could take up to two years for factories to begin planning capacity expansions aiming beyond pre-virus levels.

Orbán called the Audi plant the “bastion of Hungarian industry” and the “pride of the nation”, noting that Audi has invested more than 11 billion euros in the now environmentally-neutral plant.

Photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI

Minister of Innovation and Technology László Palkovics accompanied the PM on his visit to the plant on the day that it transitioned to operating three shifts.

Audi Hungaria chairman Alfons Dintner said the Győr plant was on its way to becoming a competency centre. With the plant restarting its third shift on Monday, Audi Hungaria took the chance to demonstrate to the PM its anti-coronavirus measures allowing the factory to partially resume production as early as mid-April, Dintner said. Audi Hungaria considers the safety of its staff its top priority, he said, adding that the changes implemented at the plant had allowed it to resume production safely.

Dintner added, however, that the company was still far from pre-coronavirus conditions, noting that customer demand was still limited.

During the visit, Orbán was also shown the production process of vehicles manufactured at the Győr plant.

Audi Hungaria shut down its plant on March 23 because of the novel coronavirus outbreak before partially restarting production at its engine plant on April 14. Vehicle production resumed on April 28.

Featured photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI