Prime minister Viktor Orbán – Photo: PMO

Orbán: ‘We can prolong good years in Hungary’s agricultural sector by working together’

While the world is facing recession, "we can prolong the good years in Hungary's agricultural sector by working together", Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Thursday, addressing the founding session of the delegates' assembly of the National Chamber of Agriculture.

“There is a political logic prevailing in the present difficult situation in several western countries which suggests that the agricultural sector should be made to mainly carry the burdens of the [economic] crisis,” he said.

“Such a scenario will never take place in Hungary, here we are not going to manage a crisis at the expense of the country’s agricultural sector,” he said.

Referring to the parliamentary election on April 3, Orbán said it had been not simply the victory of a party but the victory of rural Hungary. With due respect to the support received in Budapest, the election was won by rural areas, he said. As a result, their expectations from the government are reasonable and the government has an obligation to fulfil them, he added. The government must fulfil the demands of rural Hungary and serve its interests, he said.

The prime minister said that in addition to a severe drought, there is a war next to Hungary which has made prices “sky-high”. The weight of the situation is felt by agricultural experts, politicians and voters alike and the only solution in such a situation is to join forces, Orbán said.

He said the National Federation of Hungarian Peasants Associations and Cooperatives (Magosz) had been a long-standing ally of the government and it was a joint undertaking by the government and the federation to represent the interests and values of Hungarian agriculture. “The National Chamber of Agriculture has been borne out of this political will,” he added.

Orbán said that the war had created a new, unpredictable situation which required “everyone to keep their cool and maintain strategic calmness”. It is necessary to consistently stick to certain fixed points, such as maintaining the budget deficit, the utility fee caps, the family support scheme, full employment, the protection of pensions and the reduction of public debt, he added.

Hungary has limited means to influence the inflation that affects the country as a consequence of the war but the economy has good chances “to find a path in a complicated environment to stay out of the economic crisis”, he said.

The Visegrad Group countries have realistic chances to stay out of a general European recession if they follow a path independently from Brussels, he added.

Despite the differences in opinion between V4 members regarding the war and Russians, there are good chances to coordinate policies and implement economic policies that “take us away from under a cloudy sky” despite slow growth, Orbán said.

The Hungarian economy has realistic chances for a 4-6 percent growth, he said, adding that Hungary’s largest export market, Germany, also suffers from serious problems.

He said that cooperation with the EU also influenced Hungary’s economy, adding that apparently all professional obstacles had been removed from an agreement concerning access to EU recovery funds. Hungary has managed to make a proposal that meets the EU’s demands and the difference in opinion about gender issues has been separated from monies, he added. “At least we have taken a step in this direction” and theoretically everything is ready for reaching an agreement regarding cooperation which “both sides are in need of”, he said.

Orbán said that “our political enemies” want to prevent an agreement and the European left-wing is making every effort to prevent Hungary and the EC from reaching a deal. “Unfortunately, the Hungarian Left is also part of this effort,” he added.

Orbán also said that efforts in the past had been successful to ensure that arable land in Hungary should remain in Hungarian ownership and “this will not change”.

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