Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said a politically motivated campaign is underway against Hungary aiming to make German companies uncertain about planned investments.
“What we are witnessing is that this campaign is turning into a sort of emotional blackmail,” Minister Szijjártó told an event organized by the DialogUngarn German-Hungarian economic organization in Budapest. He said that in modern history, Europe had never before faced such severe security and economic challenges simultaneously as in the current period. Europe is paying the price of the war in Ukraine as a result of soaring energy prices and inflation, which hurts the continent’s competitiveness, he said. The price of electricity in China is one-third of that in Europe and the price of natural gas in the US is one-seventh of that in Europe, he added. Minister Szijjártó highlighted the risk of the escalation of the war, stating that it is greater than ever before, which justifies the Hungarian government’s pro-peace stance. He also said that the re-formation of blocs must be avoided in the world, adding that central Europe had always lost out on conflicts between East and West. “What’s needed instead is mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation,” Minister Szijjártó added. He said that efforts aimed at “decoupling” the European and Chinese economies were extremely dangerous. The transformation of the car industry cannot be reversed, as European car manufacturers have become completely dependent on electric battery makers in the East, he added. Over the past years, the government has pursued a political-economic strategy aimed at making Hungary a meeting point of eastern and western companies, offering great opportunities and a “life insurance” for maintaining the growth of the country’s economy, he said.
“We are members of Western systems of alliances and at the same time, thanks to our policy of opening to the East, we have never alienated ourselves from Eastern companies,” the foreign minister said. “We have always said that it does not matter where a company comes from, what matters is that they must abide by the rules,” he added. Szijjártó welcomed that despite the campaign to make German companies uncertain about their investments German companies “form the largest community of investors in Hungary” with 6,000 German companies employing some 300,000 people. He noted that the government had supported 183 German companies under its investment promotion scheme introduced in 2014.