FM: European Union and China cooperation must remain unharmed

Hungary rejects all proposals that risk fracturing economic cooperation between the European Union and China.

The foreign minister said Hungary rejects all proposals that risk fracturing economic cooperation between the European Union and China.

Speaking in Budapest, at the second Hungarian Battery Day conference, Péter Szijjártó argued that such a development would have a “tragic impact”. Though the world is on the brink of a new era and there is much uncertainty, what is certain is that the revolution of the auto industry is moving forward, the foreign ministry cited the minister as saying. The auto industry accounts for 30% of Hungary’s economic output, Minister Szijjártó said, adding that this presented the country with a lot of tasks but also “a huge opportunity”. The minister said the European economy was “moving towards a big recession” and the Hungarian government’s goal was for Hungary to be a “local exception” to the economic downturn. This, he said, required Hungary to attract as many investments as possible. He highlighted electromobility as an area with great potential, noting that the government had supported 44 investment projects in this sector in the last five years. The Hungarian government has made it very clear since 2010 that its strategy is to be “the meeting point between Western and Eastern investors, the Western and Eastern economy”, he said.
Minister Szijjártó noted that Hungary was the only country besides Germany and China to have plants from all three big German premium car makers. Hungary also has the third biggest electric battery production capacity in the world and ranks fifth in the export of EV batteries, he added. Two of the world’s six leading battery makers have plants in Hungary, Minister Szijjártó said, noting that Chinese battery maker CATL’s construction of a plant in Hungary was the biggest investment in the country to date. The fact that the Hungarian economy has seen record investments both this year and the last shows that Hungary has remained a “local exception” to the recession, the minister said. He said the rise in investments was a vindication of the government’s policy of opening up to the East. Minister Szijjártó praised Hungary’s investment environment, its low taxes, financial incentives, and secure energy supply. The Hungarian government considers the latter a physical issue rather than an ideological or political one even though it “generates sometimes a pretty heated debate”, he added. Concerning the negative effects of the war in Ukraine, Szijjártó said the ties between Russia and the European Union were being “cut one by one”. He said a similar trend needed to be avoided in the case of China. Szijjártó said those who “are operating on a common-sense basis” would do everything in their power to reject political proposals that would destroy economic cooperation between Europe and China.