Europe is becoming less and less of a global player, President Katalin Novák underlined in her speech at the reception of the Ambassadors accredited to Hungary on Wednesday, 10 January at the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts. She added that the question is whether we can reverse the trend of European decline or not.
The President stressed that this year, we have the opportunity to rethink Europe’s position and reverse the course of European politics, as European Parliament elections will be held in June. According to Katalin Novák, two important factors should be highlighted in this context: first, the diversity of the European Union, which we must preserve. Second, the role of unanimity in European decision-making is crucial and must not be changed.
The President stressed that Hungary will take over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU immediately after the European Parliament elections. ’Many think that Hungary is not mature enough for this task,’ Katalin Novák pointed out.
To counter these voices, she continued, Hungary will prove again that it will be a good president of the European Union.
The President also stated that the priorities of the Hungarian presidency would be demographic issues and the promotion of EU enlargement.
The Head of State went on to say that there are numerous challenges confronting countries worldwide today. These include the war in Ukraine, the conflict between Israel and Hamas, illegal migration, disinformation, the difficulties and dangers associated with using artificial intelligence, natural disasters, the hidden political ambitions of non-governmental bodies, the escalating influence of Big Tech companies, the demographic crisis, and climate change—all of which are putting our world to the test.
Katalin Novák emphasized that in case of conflicts, it is always important to consider the military realities of the processes and underscored the importance of peace.
She stated that, unfortunately, in many cases, certain international actors act against this very objective, further fueling tensions.
The President highlighted that in times of crisis, stable and strong political leadership is not a disadvantage but an advantage. ’This should be a decade not of fear but of successful cooperation,’ she said.
In his speech, the Head of State also addressed why Hungary is attractive to foreign investors from other countries, highlighting that this year saw record levels of investment in Hungary, creating nearly 20,000 new jobs.
’We are not colonizers, and we do not behave like them. We believe in mutual respect,’ President Novák underlined.
She added that Hungary is a committed member of the Western alliance, while simultaneously endeavoring to cultivate pragmatic relations and cooperation with other regions of the world. She stated that the Hungarian approach is grounded in a combination of Western values and respect for the East.
In the context of the demographic crisis in developed countries, the President pointed out that the fertility rate in the G20 countries has fallen by 34 per cent compared to 1990. ’This implies that we are, in fact, giving up on our future,’ Katalin Novák said. To reverse this declining trend, she emphasized the need to restore the value of families and childbearing.
The Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to Hungary, Michael Wallace Banach, also spoke at the event, echoing the sentiments of the President of the Republic, stating that the past year has presented the world with numerous challenges. He emphasized that modern warfare is no longer confined to the battlefield and doesn't solely impact soldiers; its economic and political consequences are felt globally, and the suffering caused by conflict disproportionately affects civilians, especially children and the elderly.
In his speech, the Apostolic Nuncio quoted the words of Pope Francis during his visit to Hungary last year: ’Peace will never come as the result of the pursuit of individual strategic interests, but only from policies capable of looking to the bigger picture, to the development of everyone.’