The city of Veszprém, a 2023 European capital of culture, “is a spectacular success story of Hungary’s renewal since 2010”, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday, opening the ActiCity Dance and Movement Centre in the western Hungarian city. The developments and investments connected to the programme have put Veszprém back among the top Hungarian cities, he said. One of the oldest cities in Hungary, it is steeped in “civic culture, Hungarian education and confidence”, he said. “Veszprém’s citizens have always thought that being from Veszprém came with a certain quality,” he said. The government has supported Veszprém in becoming “a worthy cultural capital of Europe”, he said. The government has poured 100 billion forints (EUR 270m), “almost to the last penny”, into developments in Veszprém, Orbán said. “It seems we have made the right decision,” he added. The prime minister said Veszprém strengthened belief that “it is good to be Hungarian, and living as a Hungarian is a worthy way of living life”.
Orbán thanked Regional Development Minister Tibor Navracsics who fought to include 116 other localities in the programme besides Veszprém. Veszprém citizens have “created a true community with the localities on the shore of Lake Balaton and included [them] in the European cultural capital programmes”, he said. He also thanked the EU “and Brussels bureaucrats” for choosing Veszprém “and so Hungary”. At the same time, the city’s performance “shows that Hungary and Brussels could do great things together if only Brussels bureaucrats managed to master their well-developed Hungarophobia,” he said. “What a shame that Veszprém’s example is the exception and not the rule,” he said.