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Sulyok Tamás beiktatási beszéde 2024.03.10.

Inaugural address by Tamás Sulyok, President of Hungary

Presidents Schmitt and Áder, 

Honourable Prime Minister, 

Honourable Speaker of the House, 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin and all around the world,
I stand before you and welcome you as the seventh President of the free Hungary, which dismantled the communist dictatorship. First and foremost, I would like to thank all those who have supported me and continue to do so.

Like others, my New Year's resolution was not to be the head of state of Hungary by the time spring came. I had not planned this service, and I had not prepared for this task. However, I have learned to appreciate the fate-shaping power of chance and unintended events over the years. Moreover, when fate throws you into unexpected situations and calls you to service, you must not shy away from it. I consider it the most incredible honour to serve my country, my nation.

My oath is a testimony to my loyalty to my homeland and my commitment to the rule of law guaranteed by the Fundamental Law. As President, I wish to be the defender of the dignity of the Hungarian people at all times.
The past thirty-plus years have allowed my predecessors to pave the way for me to walk. I will follow the good examples, but I will also try to add my own paving stones. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

One can be prepared for even unexpected events if they have their firm support. Law is my support, the compass for my entire life. I intend to work in this spirit and in a faithful manner. 
As Ulpian put it somewhat pathetically: "Ius est ars boni et aequi." – "The law is the art of equity and goodness."

I am a lawyer, and I will remain a lawyer. Throughout my presidency, I will always stand first and foremost on the ground of public law.

Hungary is a country with over a thousand years of statehood, based on the principle of popular sovereignty. The President of Hungary is responsible for representing the State in exercising the powers laid down in the Fundamental Law. And this state is a state of law. 

The phrase 'state of law' is often used in a political sense nowadays. However, I am personally incapable of operating with a conceptual framework that is flexible in its interpretation or changes in its meaning based on interest. I use the term 'state of law' in its original meaning only to mean that the entire functioning of the state is subject to law. 

When I was elected, I stressed that, for me, all power can only be understood within the framework of law. My mission and my service are now different from what I have done so far, but the core values are the same as those to which I have always been faithful and firm. 

As President of Hungary, the Fundamental Law is my work's cornerstone, framework, and benchmark. 
And the Fundamental Law is precise: “The President of the Republic shall embody the unity of the nation and be the guardian of the democratic functioning of the state organisation." This is the unity that cannot be and will not allow to be disrupted. And this is the mode of operation within which I will interpret my service and whose boundaries I will consistently guard and not allow to be crossed.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I do not forget where I came from or the intellectual and cultural environment in which my family and my personal life are rooted. My Hungarianness, Christian faith, and cultural affiliation—which is as national as it is European and as European as it is national—are the sources of my values. These feed my life and my work. And it is only from this perspective that I can and want to see the world. 

Our national culture is the source of a number of values that are worthy of protection and to which we have a duty to conform. These include personal dignity, family, community, and children. 

Our Fundamental Law sets out the spiritual creed of the Hungarian nation in its preamble. For us, this is a credo for which the Hungarians have fought for centuries, and which is also the pledge of the nation's future.

The National Avowal of our Fundamental Law states: "We hold that human existence is based on human dignity." "We hold that individual freedom can only be complete in cooperation with others." "We hold that the family and the nation constitute the principal framework of our coexistence and that our fundamental cohesive values are loyalty, faith and love."

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My predecessor has set an excellent example of openness in international relations and close contacts with Hungarians abroad, which I consider worth following. I do not wish to deviate from this path.

I consider it one of the most outstanding and most significant achievements of the past decades that today the President of Hungary is responsible for his compatriots both within and beyond the borders not only in a spiritual sense – which I am happy to do – but also under public law – and I intend to fulfil this responsibility. I follow with particular concern the lives of our brothers and sisters from Transcarpathia living in war-torn Ukraine.

I appreciate the Hungarian nationalities as an integral and added-value part of the history and present of Hungary. Providing support for the free exercise of their national and cultural identity is self-evident.

Our common destiny means that good relations with our neighbours and regional partners, as well as close cooperation with the Visegrad countries, are of the utmost importance to us.

Our National Avowal sets the way forward in our relations with other peoples: we "strive to cooperate with all nations of the world."

As between nations, mutual respect is the criterion between man and man. Everyone is equal before the law; there are no differences, no exceptions, and no bias. 

Every human being carries in himself his dignity and his values. We do not make these dependent on the opinion or confirmation of others. Physical, psychological or financial need does not detract from the value of a person, but it places a duty on other citizens and the state to help their fellow human beings. My wife Zsuzsanna and I will always be there for those who need it most. The needy, the disadvantaged, those in trouble through no fault of their own, our the elderly, sick and lonely compatriots can always count on us.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Judeo-Christian culture, Christian faith and the values that derive from it are inseparable from us. It is the foundation of our millennia-old statehood, an integral part of our past and a determinant of our present.

Hungary is unquestionably part of the West, and it became so by a conscious decision. Our Europeanness is the choice of King Saint Stephen of Hungary, which has been confirmed by generations to this day. Hungarian is, therefore, also European, not only geographically but also in a spiritual sense. However, it does not blend into, but fuses with it - and the two are not the same. As Hungarians, we have fused with the destiny of Europe, enriching it with our own specificity - and we can strengthen the continent as long as we can do so as Hungarians.

The difficulty of our task is that the future of Europe depends not only on us but on all European nations and every single member of the community. Whether Europe will be a denial or a promise, past or future, will be decided by the citizens of the 27 countries. And we Hungarians can only take responsibility for 1/27 of this decision. This is why it is of the utmost importance that at least we Hungarians stand on firm ground in this uncertainty.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a nation of survival, we see our indivisible sovereignty as a fought heritage "through so much ill fortune after many feuds".
In one of the most challenging periods in our history, Ferenc Deák, resisting external forces that sought to oppress us and also internal, irrational aspirations, formulated a position that we must and should hold on to: "The basic premise of our constitutional life and national existence is the country's legal autonomy and independence. Therefore, our first and most sacred duty is to devote all our strength and talents to ensuring that Hungary remains Hungary and that its constitutional autonomy and independence are preserved intact." 

However, we must not forget the need for renewal either. As our Fundamental Law says, after the decades of the 20th century, which led to a state of moral decay, we have an abiding need for spiritual and intellectual renewal.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

“All things are uncertain the moment men depart from law" - as stated by Grotius.
The fulfilment of good life, security, order, justice, and freedom can only be achieved when citizens and the state share a common purpose. No one can go against the will of the people. The state must serve its citizens.
However, the state is not without faults either. The work of the redress system, the Constitutional Court and the courts is designed to remedy these shortcomings.

If a state is proud of its achievements and virtues, it must also take responsibility for its faults.
Public trust must be the binder of 21st-century Hungary. Without this, our democratic state cannot be imagined or understood. Without trust, there is no functioning state, economy, or legal system. And without honesty, there is no trust. Sincerity can appear and manifest itself in the existence of dialogue.

I will strive to foster mutual interest, understanding and listening, rather than suspicion, to ensure respect rather than reproach. I encourage all Hungarians to do this. I recommend value-driven cooperation standing on the basis of law.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

"There is only home where there is law", said Sándor Petőfi, and we, tamed by the present reality of public law, can stand by his statement with the same determination today.

Hungary's future, the peace of our families, and the stability of our country depend on us. As President of Hungary, I will do everything I can to ensure that we Hungarians can be proud of the 21st-century chapters of our history that lie ahead of us, true to our heritage.

True to my oath and my convictions, I will serve my homeland and nation with all my knowledge and strength, within the framework provided for me by the Fundamental Law.