Prime Minister Delivers State of the Nation Address

Government

Photo by MTI/Szilárd Koszticsák

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán delivered his annual state of the nation address in Budapest on Saturday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Orbán addressed the resignation one week earlier of the president and the former justice minister after a pardon issued to a former deputy director of a children's home convicted as an accomplice in a child sexual abuse case came to light.

He acknowledged the "tireless" work of Katalin Novák, the departing head of state, but said her resignation was "the right thing to do" and would "make us stronger".

He called the pardon, which was countersigned by Varga when she was the justice minister, an "unforced error". "Good people, too, make bad decisions," he said.

"There can be no pardon for pedophile crimes," he added.

He said legal measures, "from the constitution to ministerial decrees", would be taken to reinforce the child protection system.

Green Transition in Focus

Orbán claimed Hungary was "at the forefront" of a technological revolution and that would ensure the country's automotive industry stayed relevant even as manufacturing bases in the West were shut down and moved elsewhere.

He pointed to the start of EV production at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét and the construction of the BMW factory in Debrecen that will turn out fully electric Neue Klasse models. He also noted the recent announcement of plans by China's BYD to build its first EV plant in Europe in Szeged and by Stellantis to start production of electric drive modules in Szentgotthárd.

He said Hungary was well positioned in the area of battery storage and predicted that energy storage devices would be ubiquitous "in a few years". The government has earmarked "hundreds of billions of forints" to that end, he added.

Orbán said the era of green energy had "not come knocking, but kicked the door in". The future belongs to green energy and to those who can make the transition "quickly and sensibly", he added.

He noted that Hungary's solar power capacity now stood over 5,600 MW and that 255,000 homes were outfitted with solar panels.

With that solar capacity, the addition of two more blocks at the Paks nuclear power plant, and the extension of the lifespans of the plant's existing blocks, Hungary is just "a few years away" from becoming energy independent, he said.

In addition to the automotive industry, Orbán said Hungary was "world-class" in pharmaceutical manufacturing, seed production, the food industry, and ICT.

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