Katalin Novak - Photo: Facebook

Novak: Hungary looking forward to 2024 ‘with great anticipation, hope’

"We are on the cusp of 2024 looking forward with great anticipation and hope, confident that we see to our tasks with renewed energy and vitality," President Katalin Novak said in her New Year's speech broadcast on public media on Monday.

“Let’s move together and make 2024 a year of movement,” the president said. “Let’s follow the example of our professional athletes and move about, not just cheer them on.”

Recalling the memorable events of 2023, Novak noted Pope Francis’s visit to Budapest, the Nobel prizes won by Katalin Kariko and Ferenc Krausz, Budapest’s hosting the World Athletics Championships and the national eleven’s qualification for the European soccer championships.

Novak said she had paid official visits to thirty countries during the year. “It was good to see the president of Hungary being received respectfully in all countries,” she said. “They know that we are a talented nation with strong self-awareness and a special way of thinking…” “Even if they don’t always understand us, they pay us attention,” she said. “I’m working to turn that attention into understanding and cooperation.”

Meanwhile, the president said despite the wars in Ukraine and Israel, and “amid political and economic uncertainty in the world and worries and everyday struggles at home, we’re still living in peace.”

Novak called 2023 “a year of encounters”, and she thanked people she had encountered to help her “go about with open eyes, ears, and an open heart”. Referring to specific people and naming them, she thanked doctors and nurses, Hungarian disaster management staff who rescued children from beneath the rubble after the earthquakes in Turkiye, people working in Hungarian children’s homes, teachers, as well as charity members working with the homeless.

The president also recalled December 2003, when Hungary awaited its entry to the European Union. “We now see the benefits and the difficulties, and will not for a moment forget that they pledged membership with full rights.” She added that earlier in the week, “the postman from Brussels delivered some of our money together with the payment notices.”

At the end of her address, the president wished everyone “a new year full of hope”.

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