In Hungarian history there were successful periods when the state was free from the influence of external powers, was strong and had robust capacity to take action, the Parliamentary and Strategic State Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office stressed at the academic year opening ceremony of the National University of Public Service on Tuesday in Budapest.

Balázs Orbán recalled that the past decade, too, had been about challenges, crises and uncertainties. The state has a key role in facing and managing crises, he highlighted.

He drew attention to the fact that the 2008 crisis was caused to some degree by the gradual dismantling of the state. At the time, many took the view that the economy can only be effective if the state is only present as “an invisible hand”. As a result of this approach, the lives of millions of people became hopeless. Without state intervention, in many places there would have been a complete breakdown.

According to the State Secretary, the 2015 migration crisis drew attention to the importance of the functioning of the state even more. Only those countries were able to manage the situation effectively where the state had firm acting capacity, he said in evaluation.

This year, at the time of the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, Hungary has been able to fight against the virus successfully so far because the state has taken it upon itself to protect people’s health, has been able to combine forces with the people, and so flatten the epidemic curve, the State Secretary said, observing that one can also see that only countries with strong and effective state administration mechanisms have been able to show solidarity and to provide tangible assistance to others.

At the same time, Mr Orbán added that the concept of the strong state that has robust capacity to take action when needed is under continuous attack, and in the Western part of the world these attacks are often directed against public service workers as well.

People working in Hungarian public service for the benefit of the Hungarian State will not be allowed to sustain such attacks, the State Secretary pointed out.

Mr Orbán asked students of the National University of Public Service to believe that the state has a role in the life of the community, and that the state is not the cause of problems, but the entity that solves them effectively.

Rector of the university András Koltay recalled that the institution trains experts for public administration, law enforcement, defence and water management; people who pledge to serve the country.

Addressing the attending students, he said they have chosen a noble vocation which involves a great deal of responsibility and is for life, and they “will play an important role in the future of Hungary”. They will have to stand their ground in crucial and difficult times as well as in times of prosperity; however, with their deeds and decisions they will help Hungary and Hungarian citizens.

He also said they regard the National University of Public Service as heir of the traditions of the Ludovica Academy. During the course of Hungarian history, the Ludovica Academy – founder of Hungarian-language officer training – also played a role in Hungary’s independence aspirations, the Rector said, adding that “also today, we confidently stand for the ideal of national independence because it is a value in any historical era, in any world political environment”.

Mr Koltay also highlighted that the first-year students of the university are living in historic times, and are starting their studies in the midst of a pandemic. This requires a special approach, a community of students with special strength. He asked them to believe that “if we combine forces, we will be able to conquer the difficulties,” and to have faith in that soon education could continue in normal circumstances. At the same time, the Rector said there is no way of knowing when this will happen.

Due to the epidemic, the year opening ceremony of the National University of Public Service was only attended by first-year students as well as by students and instructors receiving awards. They were seated in the Ludovica Arena at a safe distance from one another.

(Prime Minister’s Office/MTI)