The government’s position is clear: They will cooperate with every mayor and municipal board that is ready to do so, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at the opening Monday sitting of the autumn session of Parliament.

In his address before the start of ordinary business, evaluating the outcome of the municipal elections, the Prime Minister highlighted that, regardless of party affiliation, everyone must work for Hungary and the Hungarian people because “the homeland cannot be in opposition”.

He stressed that it is a great honour for the government that the governing parties had received more than 50 per cent of the votes in Hungary. The government can continue its work, and has received confirmation regarding the most important issues, he stated. He added that they will continue the policies of a workfare economy, a family-friendly Hungary, increasing wages, a respectable old age, housing support and the unification of the nation.

He said municipal elections had been successfully held in every settlement; this is thanks to the hard work of the 20,000 people who participated in the implementation of the elections. The government fulfilled its responsibilities related to the organisation and implementation of the elections “to everyone’s satisfaction,” he said in evaluation.

The Prime Minister thanked all electors who took part in the elections and “thereby contributed to the functioning of democracy in Hungary”. The turnout data shows that “the Hungarian people continue to remain committed to democracy, and believe in Hungary’s future,” he said.

He pointed out that “democracy in Hungary is strong, operational and is able to serve the people’s interests effectively”.

Mr Orbán also said the family protection action plan had gained momentum; more than 65,000 people have joined the various programmes organised under its auspices. Funds provided as part of the measures of the action plan amount to some HUF 650 billion in total; these have already been received by Hungarian families, he said.

He highlighted that the Hungarian economy appears to be strong enough to withstand the effects of these measures; in the first half of the year, there was a 5.2 per cent economic growth. We have changed over to a workfare-based economic system, unemployment has fallen to 3.4 per cent, and the number of jobs has increased by 808,000 since 2010, he listed. He added that 4.5 million people have jobs in the country, but “the government would like even better results,” they want Hungary to catch up with the Czech Republic.

He observed that in the first seven months of the year, average earnings had increased by 10.6 per cent, and the rise of the minimum wage is the 4th highest in the EU.

The Prime Minister said major changes had taken place also as regards the sovereign debt: The sovereign debt has fallen to 68 per cent, and while in 2010 foreigners held 50 per cent of the country’s debt, today this percentage is below 20 per cent.

Outlining the decisions adopted in the European Union, he pointed out that they had succeeded in electing a person to head the European Commission who might be able to rectify the mistakes of the past few years.

Regarding the elected President of the European Commission, he said he believed it was his duty to prevent the election of a president who spoke about the Hungarian people in a disrespectful manner, as well as the election of officials who sought to implement plans on the issue of immigration that are contrary to the Hungarian people’s will. We have achieved our goal, he pointed out.

Speaking about Brexit, he said they had concluded a fair agreement on the departure of Britain from the European Union. He stressed that he had consented to an agreement that would protect the interests of Hungarians working in Britain and was also good for the Hungarian economy.

After the good news, he said it was bad news that the council of prime ministers said no to the commencement of EU accession talks with Macedonia and Albania. “This is a bad decision, but I hope not a tragic one,” he said, adding that it would be tragic news if Serbia’s accession came to a halt.

He described Serbia as a key country “for our region and stability,” pointing out that without EU membership Serbia is unable to stabilise the Balkans region. Hungary therefore continues to support the swift accession of all Balkans countries, but in particular of Serbia and Montenegro, he underlined.

He further mentioned that by 2050, in consequence of radical and in-depth transformation programmes, the Hungarian economy can be rendered fully carbon neutral; however, this will not happen without a major contribution from the EU.

The Prime Minister said Hungary needs some EUR 150 billion in order to make electricity generation emission-free, to fully replace the use of natural gas with alternative solutions, and to make transport fully electricity-based.

He also said the council of prime ministers had started debating the EU’s next seven-year budget. He pointed out that there was no consensus even on the most basic issues; positions regarding every important area are wide apart.