Central Europe faces testing times on the back of forecasts for a slowdown in western European economies, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Sunday in Bratislava.
After laying a wreath together with his Slovak and Czech counterparts and Poland’s foreign minister in memory of the Velvet Revolution, Orbán told Hungarian journalists: “We hope we’ll be standing on our own feet to see if this is the case.”
He said the extent to which central European countries are able to move independently of western European developments would soon become clear.
Orbán said central European countries would not be able to insulate themselves since 85 percent of their exports are destined for western Europe.
We can’t be under any illusions: this will have an impact on us. But the question of how strong we really are … and how much we’re capable of protecting our achievements will transpire in the next year or two.”
Hungary, Orbán added, felt strong just as the other countries of central Europe did. The growth rate of the Visegrad Group of countries would continue to be at least 2 percentage points above that of the EU average, he added.
I’m optimistic, but compared with the past few years, tough times are on the horizon”
He said central European economic players were beginning to connect, with more and more joint ventures. “This is really important, especially if these countries want to decouple from external developments, or at least if they don’t want these developments to determine their fate.”
“I see more and more of a converging … central European economic region that gives us hope,” Orbán said.
Featured photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI