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In an article published in the Financial Times on Tuesday on the occasion of Hungary’s assuming the European Union’s rotating presidency, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán elaborated on the topic of restoring the EU’s competitiveness. He noted that Hungary was now serving its second EU presidency 13 years after its first one.
“During my time as prime minister, a role I held between our two presidencies, I have had a unique vantage point from which to witness the erosion of Europe’s competitiveness,” Orbán said. He said he had been “fortunate enough to know the great architects of the European integration of the 1990s,” making special mention of Helmut Kohl. Quoting the former German chancellor, Orbán said that Kohl once remarked: “We all need Europe in order to remain competitive on the world markets,” adding that “his words have never been as relevant as they are today”.
“The loss of the EU’s competitiveness has been a growing tendency in recent decades,” the prime minister said. “This decline can be attributed primarily to misguided Brussels decisions that go against the realities of the world economy.” He said that “Europe has become a far less attractive investment destination, even prompting European companies to consider relocating to other markets,” and noted Hungary’s experience, which he said “shows that economic success requires competition and a business-friendly environment”. “We aim to negotiate a new competitiveness deal to relaunch European economic expansion, while promoting an open economy and international co-operation,” he said. Orbán concluded the article by underlining Hungary’s belief “that a competitive Europe serves the interests of all member states”. “Hungary is gearing up for an exceptionally active EU presidency. It’s time to set aside ideological disputes and kick-start Europe’s engine. Let’s make Europe competitive again.”