Summer Uni Speech: Hungary Has Reached 78% of EU Development Level, Says Orbán

  • 24 Jul 2023 10:39 AM
  • Hungary Matters
Summer Uni Speech: Hungary Has Reached 78% of EU Development Level, Says Orbán
Hungary is on schedule with its goals, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at the Bálványos Summer University in Băile Tușnad, noting that in 2010, the country’s development level had been 66% of the European Union average, while last year it had been at 78%.

He added that the goal was to reach the 85-90% range by 2030. The plan is also to reduce Hungary’s dependence on energy imports from the current 28%, Orbán said.

Hungary wants the expanded Paks nuclear power plant and solar energy developments to reduce its electricity imports to zero by 2030, he added.

Meanwhile, the employment rate in Hungary was at 77% in 2023, up from 65% in 2010, and is expected to rise to 85% by 2030, he said.

While no Hungarian university had been among the top 5% in the world in 2010, 11 have reached that level by now, he said.

Regarding the government’s achievements on family support, Orbán said the reproduction rate in Hungary was at 1.5, up from 1.2.

The rate should be at 2.1 to stop natural population decline, he said. “We are still in trouble, we’ll have to mobilise all our strength, energy and resources for family policy,” he said.

Defence is also “starting to find its feet”, with Hungary being one of the few NATO countries to be spending at least 2% of its GDP on defence, he said.

“We are not behind on the programme aiming to unite the nation by 2023; the government has raised the resources tenfold since 2010,” he said.

Orbán: 'Worst of War’s Economic Fallout Over' 

Hungary "collided with two meteors over a three-year period", namely the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and the war in Ukraine in 2022, “but the worst is behind us”, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Saturday.

In his keynote speech at the Bálványos Summer University in Băile Tușnad, in central Romania, Orbán said that while the country had been able to defend itself against Covid and quickly returned to the path it had carved for itself, the war in 2022 had derailed it from that path.

“Today, Hungary … is struggling to make our way back,” he said. Orbán said Hungary could achieve this recovery by July 2024. At the same time, “the worst is behind Hungary,” and inflation is expected to fall into single digits by year-end, he said. He said that hopefully, wages would not lose their value, and “sky-high interests on loans” could be curbed.

Meanwhile, Orbán said the Hungarian economy’s output had tripled over the last 13 years, growing from 27,000 billion forints to 80,000 billion.

He said Hungary was targeting a GDP of 160,000 billion forints (EUR 420.5bn) by 2030.

The economic system the government has been building for 13 years “has come together and has performed well”, Orbán said.

Orbán: Global Power Balance Has Shifted

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, addressing the Bálványos Summer University in Băile Tușnad, in central Romania, said the world was now facing the consequences of a shift in the global balance of power.

The global balance of power that existed for 80 years following the second world war was “divided into two periods for Hungarians”, Orbán said.

“There were the first 45 years when the Anglo-Saxons turned us over to the Soviet communists … and the second period which has so far lasted 33 years when we have lived freely without military occupation, the Soviet Union and communists,” he said.

The world was in balance for 80 years because the Soviet Union had been “driven out of history without a war”, Orbán said. But now, China has shifted the world’s balance, he added.

The current global trends, whether they may concern the economy, technological development or military power, favour Asia and China, Orbán said. “China stands before us in full superpower attire,” he said.

It has a civilizational creed, seeing itself as “the centre of the universe”, it has a long-term plan to “make China great again”, as well as a medium-term programme to restore the dominance it had in Asia before the West got there, Orbán argued.

He said the biggest question was whether a confrontation between China and the United States was avoidable. He said that though a war was not inevitable, “the truth is that this is the business of the big boys. We weren’t dealt a hand in this”.

“All we can say is that it’s time to do something that’s never been done before: the big players should accept that there are two suns in the sky,” Orbán said. “The opposing sides should recognise one another as equals regardless of the current balance of power.”

At the same time, Orbán warned that since it took an entire generation for a new balance of power to be established, it was this timeframe to which Hungarians’ plans needed to correspond.

As regards the state of the European Union, Orbán said the bloc “can give us the impression that it suffers from anxiety and feels surrounded”.

The prime minister said the EU saw itself for what it was: “a rich and weak union which sees a rebellious world, confused noise, old grievances, many mouths to feed and massive consumption around itself”.

Citing projected IMF country rankings for 2030, Orbán said Britain, Italy and France were projected to drop out of the top ten, while Germany was seen falling from its current fourth place to tenth.

“That’s the reality,” Orbán said, adding that fear and the feeling of being surrounded was steering the EU towards isolationism because it “got scared of competition”. He compared the bloc to an aging boxing champion who showed off his championship belts but no longer wanted to get back into the ring.

This, he said, led to the EU shutting itself into “an economic, political and cultural ghetto”.

He said the EU had used the sanctions against Russia to cut the country off from the European economy. But, he added that cutting Europe off Russian energy was ineffective, arguing that Russia could not be cut off from the rest of the world.

“There will be someone else to buy the Russian raw materials while we suffer from wartime inflation and lose our competitiveness,” he said.

Prior to the war, the EU paid 300 billion euros for its gas and oil imports, while last year it paid 653 billion, Orbán said. So Europe is trying to compete while paying double for energy, while the rest of the world pays what it had been paying before the war, Orbán said.

He said major European corporations did not want to cut ties with Russia. Altogether 8.5% of the 1,400 biggest Western companies have pulled out of Russia, Orbán said, noting that 88% of pharmaceutical companies, 79% of the European mining industry, 70% of energy companies and 77% of manufacturing firms continued to do business with Russia, and had contributed 3.5 billion US dollars to the Russian state budget.

“From our perspective, the attack the Ukrainians have launched against poor little Hungarian OTP Bank is nothing but a manifestation of Hungarophobia, which we must reject,” the prime minister said.

Meanwhile, Orbán identified the struggle between “federalists and sovereignists” as the other major European trend in which the “sovereignist Visegrad Group” was left to face the “federalist Germans and French” on its own after Brexit.

He said the federalists had “openly admitted that they wanted to see a change in government in Hungary and used every means of political corruption to finance the Hungarian opposition”.

“They’re now doing the same thing in Poland and remember how they wanted to thwart a victory by the [Giorgia] Meloni-led right wing,” Orbán said, referring to recent general elections in Italy.

The prime minister said he was hopeful that next year’s European Parliament elections would yield “a balance of power in Europe that is more favourable for us”. He said the “federalists” had “launched an attack against the Visegrad Group”.

“We can all see the result: the Czechs have essentially switched sides, Slovakia is teetering, and only the Poles and the Hungarians are holding out,” he said. Orbán said there was a chance for the number of “sovereignist” countries to grow, noting that such a government had been formed in Italy.

“Something is also moving in Austria, and there’s an election tomorrow in Spain,” he added. “The most important thing for Hungary is that we have to be aware of ourselves … and stick to the path we embarked on in 2010 after the 20 confusing years of the change of regime,” Orbán said.

“We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we have a new era which has both intellectual and economic foundations.”

Orbán Thanks Romanian Counterpart for Talks, Băile Tușnad Summer University

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Saturday sent a letter to Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu, thanking him for recent talks in Bucharest and for ensuring the “smooth operation” of the Bálványos Summer University in Băile Tușnad (Tusnádfürdő), in central Romania.

“I would like to thank you for meeting me in Bucharest. I thank you and the Romanian authorities for ensuring the security of the summer university in Băile Tușnad, and that my speech could proceed peacefully and smoothly today,” Orbán said in the letter.

He also pledged support and cooperation in the issues discussed during the Bucharest meeting.

Click here for the transcript of full speech by PM Orbán at 32nd Bálványos summer university

  • How does this content make you feel?

XpatLoop Media Partner

Hungary Matters

Launched in January 2014, this newsletter published on week days covers 'everything you need to know about what’s going on in Hungary and beyond', according to its publisher the state media agency MTI.

Explore More Reports

  • Orbán Also Offended Slovakia Via Summer Uni Speech

    Orbán Also Offended Slovakia Via Summer Uni Speech

    • 26 Jul 2023 10:19 AM

    Hungary’s ambassador to Slovakia was summoned to the Slovak foreign ministry on Monday over a remark made by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán concerning the Hungarian community in Slovakia and “breakaway parts of the country” at last week’s Băile Tușnad Summer University in central Romania, the ministry said.

  • Czech PM Offended by Orbán's Summer Uni Speech

    Czech PM Offended by Orbán's Summer Uni Speech

    • 24 Jul 2023 11:07 AM

    Czechia is a sovereign state, and its government is protecting the interests of the nation, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on Saturday, responding to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the Bálványos Summer University in Băile Tușnad, in central Romania.