Hungary's Prime Minister discusses the Future
As part of a public demonstration of support for the newly-elected governments in Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom's Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, traveled throughout the region in September 1990. Not only did this provide her an opportunity to discuss important matters for Britain's foreign policy but also she could use the attention she brought with Western journalists to allow the new leaders of Eastern Europe a public forum for their plans. These comments from Hungary's Prime Minister, Jozsef Antall, are taken from a question-and-answer session with Margaret Thatcher. In his comments, Antall addresses the continuing importance for further political and economic reforms in Hungary, as well as make a direct appeal for Britain's assistance. While this press conference was held in Hungary, its intended audience was not the Hungarian public, whom the Prime Minister could have addressed at any time, but instead the foreign audience listening to the comments of Margaret Thatcher.
Margaret Thatcher and Jozef Antall, interview with Hungarian Journalists, September 19, 1990, Margaret Thatcher Foundation, Archive, Thatcher Foundation (accessed May 15, 2008).
Our discussions have not been started just recently. In Helsinki we had the chance to have discussions on similar subjects, too.... Therefore, basic matters of foreign policy and economic policy have been touched upon.
With respect to foreign policy, may I inform you that we have had discussions about the European security system, we have looked through the Hungarian situation within this context and the relationship of Hungary with Great Britain in this respect and the current state of the Warsaw Treaty Organization was discussed, too. Hungarian political questions related to the Warsaw Treaty issue and the defense policy of the Hungarian Republic were also discussed....
May I note that it is very important that in order to have Hungary become an associate member of the European Community in the forthcoming negotiations, the British government will support us, we can enjoy the support of the British government in this respect....
Matters such as privatization were discussed. It was expressed that it is a clear intention of Hungary to continue the process of privatization and related to this, again, we can have the support and assistance provided by the British government since they have extensive experience in this respect and in the period of transition state companies will have to operate under market conditions and in this respect, too, we will have some help and assistance from them. At the same time, we have requested the support of the British government in the area of banking to help interested parties make investments in Hungary.