Prime Minister addressed annual ambassadors’ meeting
Hungary has a vested interest in seeing the success of the Eurozone, as we are linked to the bloc in many ways, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said, addressing the annual meeting of ambassadors in Budapest on Tuesday.
"A successful Eurozone will significantly increase the chances of a successful Hungarian economy," he stated, adding that the European Union would not see economic growth without Central Europe. He added that the region's countries should have joined the union earlier. The Prime Minister emphasised that a deeper institutional and eco-political integration of the Eurozone will take place, making large strides, over the next few years. Hungary, however, pursues a policy of balance and does not approve of national competences being converted "on the sly" into community-level competences in the EU, he added. He pointed out that an unclear relationship in national and community competences only favours large states and leads to double standards. The Hungarian Prime Minister said that at a time of crisis, targeted measures produce better results, without which it will be impossible to exit the crisis. Yet Hungary's targeted measures, such as the banking and telecommunications taxes, are constantly criticised, he added, pointing out that Hungary has been able to reverse negative trends and reduce state debt. The country's position could improve even further if it chooses an early repayment of a loan taken from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). "The budget deficit is below 3% for the third year, the country stands on its own feet, the Government has dealt with the problems of foreign currency borrowers, unemployment is on the decline as well as household utility bills, while wages and pensions are increasing and the economy is growing," he highlighted. Prime Minister Orbán also said he expected great economic growth data in the last quarter of this year.
On the subject of relations with Russia, he stated that the EU must reach an agreement with the country to improve its competitiveness. For Central Europe, this is historically a complex issue, he added. The region must clearly define its interests in the context of a long-term EU-Russia strategic agreement, in case such an agreement comes about, he said.
The Prime Minister emphasised that since the EU is a transatlantic community, it must strike a balance between a strategic pact with Russia and a free trade agreement with the United States. As for the latter, a Hungarian Government committee has been formed to establish how such an agreement would affect the various sectors of the Hungarian economy, he added. On another issue raised, Hungary's potential accession into the Eurozone, he stated that this can be considered when Hungary's per capita GDP reaches 90% of those of the Eurozone states, adding that this is unlikely to happen in the next decade.
Regarding US relations Prime Minister Orbán said that there are differences of opinion on ideology with the US. He stated that America must accept that "freely-elected representatives of the Hungarian people make decisions freely about what is good for them and what is not". On the other hand, he said, on issues such as military cooperation, secret-service cooperation and economic relations, the situation is outstanding.
16 July 2013