At the official inauguration of new headquarters for the Constitutional Protection Office (CPO) in Budapest’s District IX on Thursday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced that “The modern Hungarian state needs a secret service, constitutional protection, national security services, and every associated activity”.
The Prime Minister said that Hungary’s sovereignty, which is primarily guaranteed by constitutional bodies and institutions, must be protected.

He said that the new building has cost almost 30 billion forints (EUR 90 million). He went on to say that it has been a long time since the Hungarian state had the strength and capability, a Government with the determination and an economy with the performance to enable the raising of such a sum for the gathering of constitutional institutions in one place. Now, however, this is possible, Mr. Orbán stressed, and the new building means that the CPO will no longer operate in four different locations.

He noted that it is a normal situation for the state to now have the power to provide conditions for the proper functioning of vital bodies, but the former situation was not normal. The Prime Minister said that “clambering out” of the previous situation has been a major achievement.

The straight lines of the new CPO building exude clarity, consistency and discipline, the Prime Minister said, adding that the design appropriately reflects the characteristics that the Government and the Interior Minister expect from the institution.

He said that although the building is important, the power of constitutional protection does not reside in buildings, but in the people who make a commitment to working for the intelligence services.

Mr. Orbán highlighted that ever since the emergence of organised societies, there have also been constitutional protection and secret services. Countries compete with each other, have divergent and conflicting interests, and strive to enforce them. There are well-trodden, legally regulated areas for the pursuit of interests, but there are also borderlands where rules do not apply or apply differently, he observed.

The Prime Minister said that in these areas, “our opponents are also working, and we must also not allow ourselves [...] to be inactive – and this is what the secret services are for”.

He referred to the new challenges of the present day, such as cyber defence, new information gathering tools, and social media, which he described as unregulated and difficult to analyse.

Mr. Orbán said that the purpose of the work performed by CPO staff is to serve the Hungarian nation.

The Prime Minister said that “What you do, and what sounds so special and mysterious, is in essence no different from the work we perform.”

He stressed that the uniqueness of the CPO is not its mission, but the means it employs.

The Prime Minister added that Hungary is growing stronger, and therefore there is increased interest in it. The country’s influence in Central Europe and the European Union is increasing, and this also has consequences for rival states, he declared. He concluded that “We need to know about this interest, we need to regulate it, and, where necessary, we need to counter it”.

Mr. Orbán said that over the past nine years the secret services have performed well – in fact excellently – in every measurable respect, and this is not just his opinion, but also that of the Minister of the Interior.

Director General of the CPO Zoltán Kiss recalled that in May 2016 the Government had decided to provide a single combined base for the CPO, the Counter Terrorism Information and Criminal Analysis Centre, and the Government Data Centre.

The decision was made in order to make law enforcement agencies more effective, he said, noting that the Constitutional Protection Office had previously operated at four locations spread across Budapest, which had weakened the flow of information, and thereby performance.

Mr. Kiss praised the building contractor, observing that the technical handover had taken place in April, after which the building was adapted to fulfil national security tasks.

The Director General stated that the facility meets all the requirements demanded by present-day challenges, as well as by Hungarian and NATO laws and regulations.

Mr. Kiss told reporters that the new building has six storeys, an area of approximately 35,000 square metres, and 1,200 kilometres of cabling in its IT system. It also has a 300-seat conference room and more than fifty protected rooms, including specially protected meeting rooms.

The CPO Director General expressed his gratitude for the institution having been given the opportunity to move into a modern, state-of-the-art building.