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“Hungary’s endeavours have not changed for the past 1,000 years: to build a European, Hungarian, and Christian state, which sensitively protects its independence,” Péter Harrach, group leader of the co-ruling Christian Democrats, said, marking the August 20 national holiday. Speaking at a celebration held in Szeged, in southern Hungary, Harrach referred to Stephen I, the founder of Hungary’s statehood, as a king “embodying the royal ideal of the age, whose character was made up of firm decision and fairness”. Saint Stephen’s work, “a truly European, Christian state”, is still an example to be followed, Harrach said, adding that Hungary’s independence “of the lords of both East and West” should be protected even now, just as during the past millennium.
At another commemoration in the city centre, Szeged Mayor László Botka of the Socialist Party said that King Stephen defined Hungary’s place in Europe by taking a stand by the West. He had realised that taking over Western culture and customs would ensure Hungary’s continued existence, he said. Next to Saint Stephen’s Day, Szeged this year also marks the 300th anniversary of the city regaining its rank as a free city and the 140th anniversary of its reconstruction after the greatest flood of its history, Botka said.