Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (l) and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz - Photo: PMO

Orbán: Economic cooperation provides firm basis for Germany-Hungary cooperation

Economic cooperation provides a firm basis for Germany-Hungary cooperation, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said after talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Friday, adding that they had agreed to further strengthen economic ties.

Speaking to Hungarian public media, Orbán said the talks had focused on European affairs and German-Hungarian bilateral ties.

Bilateral trade was record high last year exceeding 70 billion euros, with a quarter of Hungarian exports arriving in Germany, he noted.

German companies employ 250,000-300,000 Hungarians, primarily in the automotive industry, Orbán said.

The prime minister said he and Scholz were in agreement that “a generation change” was taking place in the car industry. “It is very important that Hungary should be involved in the German technological transformation,” he added.

Orbán underlined that Hungary was one of three countries in the world where all three major German carmakers were present.

“Hungary has a special role in the operation of Germany’s industry, and we expect jobs, economic growth and tax revenues [from them]”, “this is the backbone of Germany-Hungary relations”, he added.

Orbán said the EU’s competitiveness must be increased, and Hungary is ready to prepare a plan that will be able to improve competitiveness. Talks are under way in this regard with other member states, he added. The goal is that instead of isolation and reacting to global changes based on “the logic of fear”, Europe should expand economic ties and strengthen its network of relations globally, he said. Instead of closing in, it should be ready for competition, he added.

Orbán said he and Scholz had clarified at their meeting that conflicts between Hungary and Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People’s Party (EPP), were not conflicts between Hungary and Germany but conflicts between Brussels and Hungary. Those conflicts Orbán said did not weigh on the country’s cooperation with Germany.

Manfred Weber is “a Hungarophobic person, he hates Hungarians,” Orbán said, adding that the EPP leader had put the blame on Hungarians for not having been elected president of the European Commission. Weber is “one of our oldest opponents, [one of our oldest] enemies in European politics”, Orbán said.

Improving the demographic situation in Europe is one of the primary goals of Hungary’s upcoming EU presidency, Orbán said.

He added that he wanted governments to be able to help one another in increasing family support.

“Migration will certainly be among the topics, and all efforts will be made to ensure that Europe continues to belong to Europeans,” he added.

In response to a question concerning whether Hungary would be able to take steps in connection with gender issues, Orbán said that “the entire gender silliness” which “stirs up” the traditional European order of cohabitation and education of children is not expressly included in the Hungarian presidency’s programme.

“We do not want to deal with it, we do not even understand exactly what it is, we have a life and we want to live the same way as we have lived so far,” he added.

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