Katalin Novak - Photo: Facebook

President Novak: ‘Now is not the time for discouragement but to cleave together’

"Now is not the time for discouragement but to cleave together," President Katalin Novak said in her New Year's address to the nation. "It is God's miracle that our homeland still stands," Novak said in her speech televised at midnight, quoting 19th-century poet and revolutionary Sandor Petofi. "How true this is again today after the unexpected hardships of recent years."

“Starting a new year that might be more difficult [than the last one] would be better if Hungarians could all rid themselves of their problems together,” the president said. “If they could leave behind the fatigue of the struggle to make a living, the anxiety over an uncertain future, the fear of the threat of war and the disappointment of having to start all over,” she said, adding that hardship did not go away with the start of the New Year.

“And how could it?” the president said. “But we have enough to build on.” With life and circumstances becoming increasingly difficult, many choose to multiply their efforts instead of running from their problems. “They stay on their feet,” she added.

Novak said she had seen this personally from farmers, shop owners, school headmasters, factory workers, border patrols and families.

“We’re a strong, fighting, crisis-resistant nation,” she said, adding that Hungarians needed to earn their success through hard work.

“History has also taught us that our biggest weakness is discord and our biggest strength is unity,” the president said. “Now is not the time to be discouraged, but to cleave together. This is the time to let even the loneliest feel that they’re not alone.”

If the strong stand with the weak, if young people reach out to the elderly and if those who are financially better off notice those of more modest means “then we’ll be putting our shared achievements of the last decade to good use”, Novak said.

She said the only way economic performance mattered was “if we extend our responsibility beyond our immediate family to other Hungarians as well”.

The president urged Hungarians to help those in need the same way they had helped Transcarpathian ethnic Hungarians and Ukrainian refugees this past year.

“At the same time, we expect decision-makers to make this struggle easier,” whether it be about helping parents raise their children, curbing price increases, supporting young people and pensioners, giving teachers the recognition they deserve or sound economic decisions, Novak added.

“The year 2023 is but a few minutes old,” the president said. “We mothers know what it is like to hold a newborn for the first time. We forget about the pain and the hardship while being full of hope, anticipation, love and smiles.”

“Let us take 2023 into our hands together and smile at the person next to us,” Novak said.

Concluding her address, the president wished Hungarians a New Year of peace.

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