Merkel welcomed that “the Hungarian government is following the European Commission’s guidance on recent contested issues”.
After talks with Orban, Merkel called it “important” that the Hungarian government had “given consideration to advice from European partners” and changed legislation which had “raised doubts”.
Merkel said her “frank talks” with Orban had been useful and had facilitated “deeper understanding” of the forces behind movements concerning the economy, voting rights and the media.
She said she appreciated Orban’s remarks about Hungary’s welcoming attitude to German companies, adding that Germany wants “good relations” between German companies and the Hungarian economy.
Concerning bilateral ties with Germany, Orban noted that German companies had invested nearly 5 billion euros in Hungary since his government took over in 2010. He said about 18 new factories had been built and about 1.2 million Hungarians depended economically on German companies.
Merkel and Orban were in agreement that the issue of the EU’s banking union should not be rushed, and quality should be put before speed.
On the subject of the EU’s next seven-year budget, Orban said Hungary sought Germany’s support so that it would “not lose out”. Merkel said EU funding should be distributed equitably, and it would benefit planning were decisions made at the November summit.
Merkel said the German economy is seen to grow by 1 percent both this year and next, but it is feeling the impact of the euro zone crisis.
Orban said the time when Hungary’s economic formula was “German-economic-growth-times-two” had passed; Germany is no longer the only engine of growth.
Orban said Hungary would turn the economic corner next year after weaker performance this year, and that his conservative Fidesz government was preparing new economic action plans. Hungary’s public finances were never as solid over the past 30 years as they are now, but as the next two or three years will not see big economic growth, finding a way to boost employment against a backdrop of poor growth would be a challenge, he said.
Merkel said it was understandable that Hungary is not currently engaged in the issue of adoption of the single currency. She said the euro’s success was of fundamental interest to EU member states outside the euro zone, and, after consolidation, the expansion of the zone would again be put on the agenda.
Orban had “never put up opposition” to euro-zone reforms, but wished it “much success”, she added.
Orban said that Hungary “does not rule out the euro” but will only introduce a new currency when there is once again a perspective for the country to prepare for doing so.
A small crowd of demonstrators were outside the Chancellor’s Office as Orban left to attend a lecture he is scheduled to hold on Europe’s renewal at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, which is close to the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). One of the twenty activists organised by the Facebook-group Berlin Resistance Cell, told MTI that Orban was attempting to divide sections of society and turn them against each other.