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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán receives Person of the Year award

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

At the 26th Economic Forum in Krynica, Poland, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán received the Person of the Year award, which is the event’s most prestigious honour.

When receiving the award, Mr. Orbán said that if he had been asked, he could have suggested a number of excellent candidates for the award. He added that recent years have been great starting steps for Central Europe’s awakening and renaissance, and that there are excellent colleagues in the Visegrád Group, any of whom could have been selected for the award.

The Prime Minister said that the award is for issues, and issues are represented by people. He added that over the past three decades he has stood up for a number of causes, but this award must have been presented to him for his work in the interest of Central Europe.

Mr. Orbán stressed that the nations of Central Europe must protect their religious, national and historic identities, as these are not old pieces of clothing which in modern times can be taken off, but are protective armour which helps our survival and could make us successful. He added that the communities which will be successful are the ones which have strong identities.

The Prime Minister said that we must protect our identity, otherwise “we will have no place under the sun”. He also emphasised the importance of Hungarian-Polish friendship and the good relations between the two nations and their leaders. Of all their friendships with the world’s nations, Hungarians have the highest appreciation for their friendship with Poland; therefore this award is even more precious, as it was given by the Polish out of friendship, he added.

Igor Janke – a Polish political scientist and author of “Forward!”, a book on Prime Minister Orbán which has also been published in Hungary – delivered a laudation, giving an overview of the Prime Minister’s political career. He pointed out that in 2010, when Hungary was on the brink of bankruptcy, a tough battle resulted in a great victory for Mr. Orbán’s party, Fidesz. Many people refused to accept the message of that victory, but their criticisms were wrong. He stressed that step by step Hungary recovered from that crisis, and it has grown stronger and stronger; previously controversial reforms have proved to be effective, and today Poland’s government is on a similar path.

Mr. Janke said that Viktor Orbán has shown that there are always possibilities, and one can always achieve change. The Hungarian prime minister is a strong, determined and brave politician, he said, and in difficult times like these, only such politicians can achieve change; they are needed, he said.

The award is decided by a committee comprising thirty representatives of Polish political and economic life, and was presented to Mr. Orbán by the Prime Minister of Poland, Beata Szydło.

(Prime Minister's Office)

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