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The issue of sovereignty “is a priority for the political community leading Hungary”, János Lázár, the minister of construction and transport told the Portfolio Construction 2024 conference. The government’s interpretation of sovereignty, he said, was that in the 21st century “nobody should decide about Hungarians without the say of Hungarians”. Before 2010, the Socialist and Liberal governments of Hungary worked as if they had been country managers of a large company, sacrificing the aspects of sovereignty to the interests of large multinationals. “We think in a very different way,” he added. “The problem is not with capital and the markets but when multinationals want to rule the country,” he added. The government’s goal, he said, was to make Hungary a key state in the upcoming decades, meaning that Hungary should be the strongest country in the region. When it comes to Hungary and countries to the south and east, this should apply also in terms of specific logistics, he added. Instead of developing all industries steadily, it has been decided that certain industries should be highlighted, he said, citing the car industry as the first and foremost. The car industry plays such an important role in industrial output and the GDP “that you could safely say that Hungary is and will remain a car-industry country”, he added. He also highlighted the importance of the defence and food industries, adding that construction was an industry in which Hungarian ownership could be maintained in the long term. The years from 2024 to 2027 will be dedicated to factory building, with 15-20 billion euros annual capital investment arriving in Hungary, he said.
Commenting on supermarket chain Spar’s complaint to the European Union concerning a special tax imposed by the Hungarian government, he said his message to all foreign businesses investing in Hungary was that they must respect their buyers, respect the country that hosts them, and respect Hungarian consumers that help them generate extra profits. “Those foreign companies that do not respect Hungarians cannot stay in the country in the long term,” he said. “The Austrian grocer’s baseless and unfair accusations against Hungary, based on utter lies, will only result in the company having to pay the price for its actions now and in the upcoming period,” Lázár said. “We in Fidesz have learnt to swim against the current, govern without money, and now we will be able to swim against Spar; nobody should have any doubts about that,” he added. Lázár said he had advised the prime minister that “now that the Austrians have lied, saying that the government wants to buy into Spar, this should be treated as a good idea and the whole company should be bought out.”