Prime Minister of Hungary

Speech made to the Assembly

Monday, 29 January 1990

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the Republic of Hungary, with true respect and appreciation, I should like to greet you. Thank you for the invitation and for the honour of this opportunity to talk to this highly esteemed body of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. I am happy that I can speak about the present and the future of our relationship and also outline the ongoing democratic changes in Hungary.

At the beginning of the last decade of this century we are both active participants in and witnesses of historic times in Europe. We are eliminating the artificial confrontation between the eastern and western parts of our continent, the remnants of the cold-war years. In Eastern Europe not only the Iron Curtain and the walls are being dismantled and pulled down, but the underlying ideological values and political structures and stereotypes, the one-party political structures and centrally planned economies are also being swept aside.

Hungary was among the first countries that were affected by the changes in Eastern Europe. We were the very first country where the Iron Curtain was dismantled, and this is where the irreversible split in the monolithic structure of the party state was started. A political institutional structure that lasted for over four decades has come to an end as a result of the constant pressure exerted by the progressive forces in the country – both inside and outside the ruling party.

What we can consider to be important during the almost two-year-long dynamic and peaceful democratic transition is as follows. In spite of the very different party programmes proclaimed by the wide variety of political parties, there is a consensus in one respect: we all want to establish a constitutional state, a parliamentary democracy on a multi-party structure with the full implementation of human rights.

As to the economy, there is a majority opinion among the different political forces in the country that it is in our national interest to establish a social market economy. All parties recognise the importance of keeping the transition peaceful. This is adhered to even if at times during the preparations for the election campaign emotional outbursts are heard. By keeping the party contests under control, I hope that the Hungarian political parties and public opinion will demonstrate the responsibility that they should feel for the nation and will also manifest a political maturity. Regardless of the outcome of the elections, I hope that the political parties will ensure a peaceful democratic transition and will not weaken, but will on the contrary strengthen, the domestic political and social stability of our country.

We are aware that, basically, it is up to us to resolve our problems. The specific historical situation only offers an opportunity; it will not act instead of us. We are also aware that a long process full of unknown and non-predictable difficulties is yet to come, and sacrifices will also have to be made. We are striving for a more stable and modern economy, for a more secure and prosperous future for our nation.

In a few years’ time, the Hungarians will be celebrating the 1100th anniversary of settling in this region of the world. We have a historic past to look back upon, rich in culture and scientific heritage. Since the early years of European civilisation, since the arrival of humanism, the task and endeavour of Hungarian intellectuals have always been to keep pace with European developments.

During the history of our nation, it has always been our desire to belong to Europe. Europe cannot forget the significance of Hungarian Protestantism, the Hungarian reformers who came home with Descartes in their heads and Protestantism in their hearts. And we Hungarians cannot forget that all this, at that time as it is now, was a sustaining element of national culture. Several examples can be listed. For instance, when in Hungary development was halted, intellectuals always directed the people’s attention to the importance of belonging to Europe. As the great Hungarian historian, Gyula Szegfu, wrote – I quote him:

“Since the eighteenth century democracy has been the ideal of all better Hungarians.”

Unfortunately, for a long period it remained only an ideal and a desire. We were lost in the maze of history. Storms of the past ages affected the state of our nation, and not just once were we turned into the instrument of alien powers and were degraded to be their serfs. Hungarians, who frequently fought miraculous battles for their self-preservation, when it came to historic moments of selecting the right course of development could not seize the emerging opportunities. We had to pay a very dear price for that.

Even today, I cannot tell you that every single individual of this nation sees our future free of illusions. But one thing I can state for certain. Our people – and maybe all the peoples of Central Europe – can pronounce that apart from Europe, apart from the world, there is no progress at home. Hence, we should like to join the new European set of values by terminating all kinds of enmity with other peoples, ethnic groups and minorities. For us Hungarians, this is a special lesson that history has engraved on our minds.

The changes taking place in our immediate neighbourhood do not leave us unaffected. These changes rewrite the scenario of the entire process of the whole European development. All parties concerned should recognise that they cannot delay any longer the review of the European integration concept. It is our duty to pose the question over and over again. Are we prepared to accept – both in our spirit and in our minds – that a period in European history has ended; that a new structure will emerge in place of the divided Europe even if lines of division still remain, but drawn at different places? This new structure in Europe will unavoidably affect the external set of relations of the continent too.

Are we able, and do we want, to think in terms of a unified Europe, or is our imagination still restricted by the limits of historical development? Are we prepared to encounter possible new conflicts that spring from closer human relations and interests? Will those European institutions emerge that can handle the conflicts, and will those institutions bear sufficient weight to integrate nationally motivated endeavours and will they be able to manage economic, political, ethnic or any forms of hidden nationalism?

The challenge is complex and it is far from being only a trade or a tariff issue.

For the time being, the East European countries are atomised, and they are in the midst of a unique race with time for democracy and yet there is a uniformity in the urging impulses they transmit to the world – and that in such a historic age, when the Western countries of the continent are also searching for new ways and means of a renewed European co-operation.

The actions of the Government of the Republic of Hungary are motivated by the creation of a fully independent sovereign country. Our foreign policy, due to our geopolitical situation and historical traditions, is Europe-centred, while, at the same time, it respects the universal values and norms of human civilisation. We respect and represent the rights of nations to sovereignty. We co-operate with all those countries, governments and peoples, with regional and universal organisations and institutions, which show willingness to act in the spirit of international law, the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and the follow-up meetings and which are governed by equal rights and mutual advantages and consistently refrain from intervention in the internal affairs of other countries.

For the realisation of our democratic transition process and for maintaining the internal stability of the country, we need a peaceful international environment in Europe and in the broader sense as well. In accordance with our opportunities in our foreign relations, we should also like to make a contribution to this peaceful environment. In relation to this, I think it is necessary to state here once and for all that the days are past when Hungarian foreign policy was determined by ideological considerations. This principle is expressed by our full respect for human, individual and collective rights which we represent regardless of social structure or allegiance.

In this perspective, it is the goal of the Republic of Hungary to contribute to a Europe free of military blocs, where no troops are stationed in other countries, and also to help to create a peaceful and secure continent. This is in line with our national interest, and we actively pursue that objective.

Last year, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Council of Europe, which unites twenty-three democracies. Then we recalled the words of Robert Schuman who said that the Council of Europe was a laboratory where European cooperation was put to test. I agree with the words of Schuman and may I add that the Council of Europe has been playing that role, in a pragmatic and at the same time in a far-sighted way. Since last June, as a result of your decision, Hungary – together with the Soviet Union and Poland – has been participating as a special guest in the plenary sessions and the committees of the Assembly. Last autumn, governed by our resolute intention to deepen the multilateral ties with Europe and also to contribute in line with our abilities and resources to shaping European unity, we decided to apply for full membership of the Council of Europe. I hope that the ongoing historic changes in our country and the broadening contacts between Hungary and the Council of Europe will serve as a sufficient basis for a favourable reception of our application.

We hope that the Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers will view this positively and that, as a result, Hungary will become a full member of the Council of Europe this year.

I should like to take this opportunity to announce our intention to sign the European Charter of Local Self-Government and the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Cooperation between Territorial Communities or Authorities. I should like to announce at the same time that Hungary is ready to join, as an observer, the work on the charter on regional and minority languages, at the level of experts. I am convinced that these steps will further strengthen the fruitful links with the Council of Europe. On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Hungary, I warmly welcome the initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Communities, which declared 1990 the year of tourism.

I look forward to the forthcoming visit of Madame Catherine Lalumière with great expectations. 25 March will be an important day in the process of democratisation in our country. That is the date for which the President ad interim of the Republic of Hungary has invited you, Mr President, and the representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, to be present at the Hungarian general election. I sincerely hope that you accept that invitation.

We attach great importance to the organic integration of Hungary into Europe. We pay particular attention to our relations with the European Community. We greatly appreciate the efforts of the Twenty-three and, among them, the member countries of the European Community to help the Hungarian reform process to expand.

We have been furthering our relations with the European Parliament. Political consultations have become regular within the framework of political co-operation with the European Parliament. We should like to go further in our relations with the European Community, hoping that in the not too distant future Hungary can attain special association that could promote our integration into Europe.

It is vital for us to establish institutional relations with EFTA. We tabled our proposals to this effect last year, and it is hoped that they will result in talks between the experts of Hungary and EFTA in the near future.

A stormy chapter of post-war history in Europe is coming to an end. In the outlining of a new stage, Hungary focuses on her relations with Europe. It is an integral part of our efforts to strengthen our co-operation and, if that meets with your approval, we hope that soon our country will become a full member of your Organisation.

Thank you, Mr President, for your invitation and thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your kind attention. (Applause)


Thank you, Mr Prime Minister, for an interesting speech. I know that you have had many invitations in the past few months to go abroad, and we are glad that you have chosen the Council of Europe as one of the few trips that you have had the opportunity to take, few because of your hard work at home. We are grateful to you for presenting your views on the future of Hungary and of Europe.

You have been kind enough, Mr Prime Minister, to say that you are ready to answer questions. Although the questions are oral and spontaneous, I already have a long list of delegates who have said that they would like to put questions to you. I ask members to be brief and to ask supplementary questions only when it is absolutely necessary, so as to permit as many questions as possible. I already have a list of twenty who have said that they want to put questions.

Because of Mr Nemeth’s tight timetable, questions to him will have to conclude not later than 5.20 p.m. The first question is by Mr Fourré.

Mr FOURRÉ (France) (translation)

Mr Prime Minister, you said that you would like to have a pioneering role in bringing together the countries of what used to be called the “Eastern bloc” which are now taking part in a great movement with the countries of Western Europe.

The question of their meeting comes up against institutional difficulties, for the future in particular. A number of proposals are on the table, some advocating the theory of “concentric circles”, others the theory of the “oval”, as our Secretary General recalled. Looking at all the possibilities, one realises that this is where the Council of Europe, the only permanent organisation dedicated to dialogue and peace, has its rightful place. A unified Europe is the only prospect that can inspire the countries of Europe which have embraced democracy once more.

Do you think that the Council of Europe can provide a forum within which to develop a confederation respectful of each partner’s sovereignty?

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary (interpretation)

said that numerous organisations and politicians in Eastern and Western Europe were busy making proposals for European unity and looking for solutions. But in order to act responsibly, it would be necessary to examine all these proposals very carefully, and from several different angles.

What was certain, however, was that Europeans in the East and the West would suffer if the continent remained divided. The Council of Europe and the European Parliament had done much to bring the two sides closer together. Hungary welcomed those efforts and was ready to cooperate actively.

Mr BRITO (Portugal) (interpretation)

said that foreign debt was hampering economic and social development. He asked whether re-negotiation of foreign debts at lower interest rates and longer amortisation rates than the usual IMF rates would be appropriate.

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary (interpretation)

replied that Hungary in particular had a relatively short time to solve its problems. Hungary’s economic crisis was immense and could not be solved without help from outside. Lessons could be learned from how Hungary’s debt came about. But Hungary did not propose to “tear up her speech”, as President Bush did recently in Budapest: Hungary would pay. Reforms would take place in a way that would preserve social peace and integrate Hungary into the world community. Mr Nemeth concluded with the words of Martin Luther: “Here I stand. I can do no other.”

Mr AHRENS (Federal Republic of Germany) (translation)

Mr Prime Minister, I have two short questions, but I should like, with the President’s permission, to say one or two things before I put them to you.

We all have clear memories of the scenes in your country late last summer, when thousands of Germans from the German Democratic Republic came pouring in, in search of freedom. Hungary opened a path to freedom for them, and did so at a time when the international political situation was unusually difficult.

In taking this decision, Hungary gave human rights priority over formal treaty obligations.

I thank the people of Hungary, not only on behalf of the Social Democrats and Socialists in this House, for whom I am authorised to speak, but also, I am sure, on behalf of all the members of this Parliamentary Assembly. Free Europe, Mr Prime Minister, will never forget, and must never forget, Hungary’s courage in acting as it did.

I now come to my questions: when do you think that the democratic institutions in your country will be able to start work and pave the way for Hungary’s accession to the Council of Europe? What, roughly, is the timetable?

My second question: what do you think of the developments in Romania, your next-door neighbour, and do you expect a further influx of Hungarian refugees from Romania?

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary (interpretation)

thanked Mr Ahrens. Hungary was proud of the part she had taken in events in East Germany, and time had proved that she had been right. Hungary had spent the last four and a half years creating the legal basis for multi-party democracy. In March, she would hold her first elections for forty years. That was like sitting an examination with the whole world looking on. It would not be easy, but he was confident that she would pass. After the elections, reversing forty years of mistakes would not be easy either. Hungary would have to elect a President of the Republic, make the constitutional court work, and pass laws on the representation of interests.

Turning to Romania, changes there gave the two countries a chance to start a new chapter in their relationship. History showed that the problems between them were the fault of the politicians, not the people. Everybody knew that minorities had fundamental rights, such as education, use of their mother tongue, and respect for their cultural heritage. A satisfactory solution had been found for a brief period after the second world war. At that time, the number of refugees from Romania was still rising but he was confident that changes there would soon make it possible for all Romania’s minorities to live in peace.

Mr SARTI (Italy) (translation)

Mr Prime Minister, I too would like to begin by conveying to you, very briefly, the best wishes and admiration of the Group of the European People’s Party, which embraces all the Christian Democrat parties of Europe.

Our admiration goes both to you personally and to your Government, the political forces present in Hungary and the Hungarian people because of their courage in 1989 and, I would add, in 1956. My question is quite unrelated to my introductory words and to the efforts which we shall most assuredly make at every opportunity to take a favourable view of Hungary’s application to join the Council of Europe.

My question is quite simple: you made a clear reference to the relationship between a liberalisation of Central and East European systems and the dismantling of military blocs. Is it your view, Mr Prime Minister, that this statement of principle might be followed by the early withdrawal of your country from the Warsaw Pact?

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary (interpretation)

replied that consideration of the future of such military bodies would have to take account of events in the real world. He welcomed reforms aimed at transforming the Warsaw Pact and attempts to further dialogue between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Hungary was in favour of a gradual process of disarmament and the emergence of a world where foreign troops were not stationed in foreign countries – in the long term, a Europe without blocs.

Mr COX (United Kingdom)

Like other members, I congratulate the Prime Minister on his speech. Can the Prime Minister tell the Assembly the background of the recent visit to his country by representatives of the South African Government? Is he aware that the tyranny that his country suffered for so long is still being suffered by the vast majority of non-whites living in South Africa? One hopes that no country that has just started to find its freedom will in any way give any comfort to that regime.

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary (interpretation)

thought the visit had to be viewed in the context of Hungary’s establishment of diplomatic relations with an increasing number of countries. He hoped that considerable changes would be taking place in South Africa in the sphere of equality and equal rights in the near future.

Mr ELMQUIST (Denmark)

I shall follow the line of questioning of Mr Fourré and Mr Sarti. I know that these issues about the future co-operation structure in Europe are difficult. In July, we were visited by Mr Gorbachev, who tried to explain from the rostrum his idea of the common European home. In your answer to Mr Fourré, I think that you were somewhat unclear. You mentioned the Council of Europe and the European Parliament in the same phrase, and I am not sure whether you include the European Community in your ideas of future broad European co-operation.

To follow up your answer to Mr Sarti, I would ask you this categorically: because of all these troops in Europe, do you expect that the proper institution for future European co-operation should be the CSCE – the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe – or the Council of Europe?

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary (interpretation)

realised that he had alluded to increasing economic links but emphasised that he considered the Council of Europe to be the best forum for the development of a united Europe.

Mr KARHAN (Turkey)

We are following with keen interest your Government’s preparations for establishing a free-market economy in Hungary. In the light of this process, what is your opinion of the possibility of revising the rules of Comecon which are incompatible with the principle of free trade, particularly those on economic division of labour and privileged economic relations?

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary (interpretation)

replied that Hungary had already attempted to initiate reforms in Comecon, but reforms based on a market economy had only recently been agreed. He thought the current bureaucratic nature of the organisation had not served its members well either corporately or individually and he hoped that increasing pressure from other Comecon members towards a market-oriented body would be forthcoming.

Mr EICHER (Belgium) (translation)

Mr Prime Minister, the astonishing historic events in Eastern Europe are seen in the West as evidence of a determined resolve to return to Europe, the true, the great Europe.

We are delighted, therefore, to have you with us at the headquarters of this Organisation that symbolises the Europe of pluralist democracy. Mr Prime Minister, welcome!

But now that the initial euphoria is over, there arises the practical question of the form that the return to democracy will take. Your country has applied for membership of the Council of Europe. Do you see this as an end in itself or as a staging-post on your way to full membership of the European Community? What do you think – we have already heard part of your answer –of the proposal to create a federation of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland, an idea put, forward by the President of Czechoslovakia, Mr Vaclav Havel, as a way of promoting co-operation with the European Community? Mr Mitterrand, President of the French Republic, spoke of a “European confederation”: how does this proposal strike you?

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary (interpretation)

replied that he had discussed with Mr Delors the development of relations between Hungary and the European Community and they had agreed that the existing arrangements between them had to be given substance. Parallel with that, both parties had to consider a new kind of agreement similar to that between Yugoslavia and the European Community. Hungary and other East European countries were struggling with economic difficulties and needed help to advance. Such help would benefit the world community. How the conditions for unifying Europe and for Hungary’s membership of the European Community might be achieved was an important question but it would not be a reality in the near future. Since 1968, they had tried to implement economic reforms in Hungary, but they had discovered that such reforms could not be successful without political reforms. Thus, it was as a matter of principle that Hungary had applied for membership of the Council of Europe. Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia, partly because of historical traditions and partly because they had moved furthest towards a market economy, could co-operate more closely economically, although that had not yet been widely discussed. Hungary considered that the gradual elimination of European borders was in the long-term interest of the whole of Europe. Hungary wanted to exchange more views about a common Europe within the framework of the Council of Europe.

Mrs PALACIO (Spain) (interpretation)

asked whether Hungary would be better able to join the European Community as it was then or a European Community more politically and economically united.

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary (interpretation)

said that it was clear that the common European home suggested by Mr Gorbachev, a unified Europe without borders, the proposal by President Mitterrand for a “European Confederation”, the reform of the European Community in 1992, and the reform of Comecon all posed questions that would need to be resolved by nations both individually and jointly. Hungary wished to complete its democratic reforms and to improve its economic co-operation with the Group of 24 and the European Community, and would examine all proposals constructively.

Mr VARA (Portugal) (interpretation)

asked, at the opening of a hopeful decade, what type of Europe would emerge from Comecon and the European Community.

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary (interpretation)

said that the solution was yet to be talked through openly and frankly.

Mr PECCHIOLI (Italy) (translation)

I agree with the words of praise being expressed for the major task of reform under way in Hungary.

The West must unquestionably lend its full – and disinterested – support to the great democratic revolution which is currently taking place in Eastern Europe.

We should, however, bear in mind, in this part of Europe, with its outstanding heritage of democratic values, that we are duty bound to accord an equal degree of dignity to the countries of Eastern Europe in our dealings with them. Indeed, the West does not possess an exclusively beneficial heritage which can be put to the service of world development: Western-style development also contains negative aspects which we must strive not to export to Eastern Europe.

We must not look upon Eastern Europe merely as a vast new market to exploit, but as a part of our continent with which we must work in a spirit of co-operation. The question I should like to put to the Prime Minister is on foreign policy, connected with the moves in the two Germanies – the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany – towards unification. I would be interested to hear the point of view of the Hungarian Government on this question, which is of decisive importance for the future of Europe.

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary (interpretation)

answered that he was grateful for the assistance offered so far to Hungary but he was aware that moral education and cultural improvements as well as economic reforms were necessary. He therefore asked for patience and understanding. A unified Europe was not imaginable without a unified Germany. However, reunification would be the task mainly of the two Germanies and, although other countries might help, it would be extremely difficult.


As a member of the Turkish delegation, I should like to extend our warmest welcome to you, Mr Prime Minister. We have observed that among the members of the Warsaw Pact your country has taken the lead in the transformation towards social democracy. In your opinion, are recent events in Lithuania and Azerbaijan likely to have an adverse effect on that process?

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary (interpretation)

replied that the Soviet leadership before Mr Gorbachev had repeatedly claimed that nationality problems had been permanently solved on Leninist principles. But, in fact, Mr Gorbachev’s courageous political and economic reforms had been confronted with the results of seventy years of mistaken nationality policies. A new nationality policy was required and relations between Moscow and other Soviet republics would have to be on a new basis. He thought that nothing should be done that might damage Mr Gorbachev’s position. The USSR had waited for such a leader for seventy years, and might have to wait another seventy for the next.

Lord MACKIE of BENSHIE (United Kingdom)

My question concerns the practical matter of agriculture. I was recently in Hungary and was taken round two state farms. I thought that they were rather well farmed although they were too big, of course. What will be done with those enormous state farms? How will you introduce a liberal economic context into agriculture in your country?

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary (interpretation)

said that that was a highly delicate and disputed question. The small-holders wanted to restore the ownership position of 1947 while others said that state farms and co-operatives had worked, and wanted to retain them with minor liberalisations. A law had now been passed to allow persons whose land had been nationalised, or their successors, to get it back. The Government expected 40 % of arable land to fall into private hands in that way. Their policy was to permit the sale of land and fair competition between the state farms, co-operatives and private farmers.

Mr REDDEMANN (Federal Republic of Germany) (translation)

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I do not wish to put a question but should like, at the end of this question session, to thank our Hungarian guests again most warmly on the German delegation’s behalf. The changes which have taken place in the German Democratic Republic in the last few months would have been impossible if the Hungarian Government and people had not helped the refugees so instinctively last summer and autumn, thus opening the way to freedom in the German Democratic Republic. Last year, I was already able to thank the visiting delegates from the Hungarian Parliament on my delegation’s behalf. I should like to do so again today. We in the German delegation have special pleasure in welcoming our Hungarian friends to the Assembly.

Mr SOARES COSTA (Portugal) (interpretation)

asked how Mr Nemeth proposed to reintroduce private farming without a break in agricultural production.

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary (interpretation)

said that Hungary produced half as much food again as she needed, but processed it in expensive and uncompetitive ways. A break in production would be hard to mend. In the early 1970s, punitive taxes on agriculture, aimed at the farmers, had forced Hungary to import potatoes for two years. The current reform of ownership would therefore take place gradually. It would also be necessary to buy small-scale processing machinery to replace the big state factories. Once a free market had been created, there was no telling which kind of farm would come out on top.

Lord KINNOULL (United Kingdom)

Unfortunately, my question has been most effectively answered by the Prime Minister. I should like to congratulate him warmly on his address and on the frank way in which he has answered many sensitive questions.

Mr KLEJDZINSKI (Federal Republic of Germany) (translation)

Mr Prime Minister, time is short, and I shall therefore merely say how deeply grateful I am as a German.

My question is: scientific, technical and technological exchange is at present obstructed in practice by the Cocom list. Do you agree with me that intensive co-operation is needed on energy, environmental and health research, on information technology, and particularly technology transfer and the exchange of the latest equipment for measurement and analysis so that production techniques can be improved? All of this, after all, is highly practical and helps to foster democracy, strengthen the economy and improve living conditions as a whole.

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary (interpretation)

saw the Cocom as anachronistic in the current situation in Europe. He recognised the value of co-operation in that sphere and was confident that Hungary would push for moves in that respect.


Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister. On behalf of the Assembly, I thank you for all the answers that you have given. There have been roughly twenty questions to you and you have been kind enough to answer all of them.

When I was in Budapest in October last year, one Hungarian – your acting President – said to me that in 1956 Hungary was left alone. I can assure you, Mr Prime Minister, that you will not be left alone by your friends in the Council of Europe. We are looking forward to Hungary’s full membership and we thank you very much for all your personal efforts to restore democracy in your country.

Mr Nemeth, Prime Minister of Hungary

I will just say one sentence in reply. There is an English proverb that says: “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”

I guess that Hungary will get full membership soon.