5 June 2015, Budapest

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Your Excellency, Esteemed Guests from Egypt,

We have received here today the special leader of a special country. Egypt is a special country, because without Egypt there is no stability in the Arab region, and as distances have diminished in the modern world, we can now also say that without stability in Egypt there is no stability in Europe. Therefore President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s visit to Europe is an especially important and valuable one.

Your Excellency,

The Hungarian people hold cultural achievements in the highest esteem, and as Egypt is the cradle of human civilisation, a guest coming from that country can always rely on a particularly warm welcome. We not only see Egypt’s present as being extraordinarily special, but also its past – and therefore we are honoured by your visit.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have always made it clear – and I also told His Excellency – that we believe in cultural diversity. We believe that the differences between cultures are gifts from God, and diversity itself must be respected. Therefore when we speak of another country – a country which belongs to a different culture, say the culture of Islam – we always speak in a tone of utmost respect. We take the view that the methods by which we successfully organise our societies in the western world do not necessarily work well for civilisations in other parts of the world. It is not for us to decide on these matters; we are not schoolmasters for democracy. It is each nation’s own prerogative to make these decisions. We are happy that the Egyptian people are pursuing their own path, and we wish them well on their journey.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to tell the Hungarian public that what is happening in Egypt today is not merely the modernisation of the economy but an effort to rescue an economy that is struggling with severe economic problems, and an effort to rebuild a country. The President of Egypt and I met today to discuss how Hungary might contribute to this reconstruction effort, to this large-scale economic development. The agreements which we have concluded are also about this contribution. Hungarians are able to provide world-class assistance with their expertise in the fields of railway construction and engineering, health care, water management and in general technological aspects of urban systems management. Together with His Excellency, we have succeeded in finding the forms of cooperation – both institutional and financial – which will create an opportunity for Hungarians to engage in the future in important business activities in Egypt which will also benefit the Egyptian people.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our guest today is also special because he comes from the world of Islam, and in many places in Europe people fear Islam; and there are even places where it is seen as an enemy. Hungary is not such a country. Hungary regards Islam as one of humanity’s great intellectual and spiritual endeavours, helping hundreds of millions of people to better understand the meaning of human existence. We therefore speak of Islam in a tone of respect, and we wish Egypt success based on the foundations of its own culture and religion. Furthermore, we have no aversion whatever to people from military backgrounds, because we well remember a number of episodes in Hungarian history when the need emerged for tough, clear-sighted, disciplined soldiers to take over control of the state from civilians of our kind (I shall avoid using the word “weaklings”); it must be said that such leaders saved our country from many great misfortunes. We wish the people of Egypt the same positive experiences that Hungary has had with national and political leaders from military backgrounds.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would also like to remind you all that the wide-ranging economic relations that exist between Egypt and Hungary are not recent in origin. They have survived all sorts of political regimes. Our presence in Egypt has always been strong. This is a past, and a storehouse of prestige which may serve as a firm foundation for building our future, and our further economic cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would specifically like to mention the fact that we also strive for cooperation in military matters. We shall also enter into cooperation in the field of defence. This partly relates to technical supplies, and partly to the joint training of personnel which we would like to conduct in the future. This is perhaps the right moment, Your Excellency, for me to mention that to date six hundred Egyptian students have graduated in Hungary, and that now they are serving the Egyptian people as highly qualified experts. We are proud that through the education of six hundred students we may also contribute to Egypt’s success. At present, fifty-five Egyptian students are studying in Hungary, and we have opened a scholarship scheme for one hundred students which will be maintained and financed by the Hungarian state, and for which we hope students from Egypt will be eligible in the future. I am also pleased to say that the Egyptian Radio and Television Union has established a successful cooperation scheme with the Hungarian public service media, and this can create an opportunity for building a cultural bridge between the two nations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to conclude by saying that our negotiations have been successful. I believe that we have opened a new chapter in Egyptian-Hungarian relations, and have entered into agreements which will give our political and economic relations a powerful boost. I would like to express once more, now in public, our appreciation and profound respect for His Excellency the President of Egypt, and to extend our best wishes for the success of his mission to serve the people of Egypt.

Thank you for your attention.

(Prime Minister's Office)