Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said Hungary shows that East-West economic cooperation is possible, based on interdependence, and highly beneficial.
Speaking in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary at a ceremony opening a BMW training center where the first hundred students started their three-year training in September, Minister Szijjártó said the fact that the company had chosen to establish an exclusively electric production platform in Hungary showed great confidence in Hungarians. Cooperation between BMW, the government and the city of Debrecen guarantees the availability of a sufficiently large workforce, a ministry statement quoted the minister as saying. The government has provided 25 billion forints (EUR 65.1m) to the university to expand its technical engineering capacities and establish a vehicle technology research center. Now more than 12,000 students attend the local vocational training center, he added. He said the schemes in Debrecen would enhance the country’s competitiveness, “which is especially important in the current period when competition for investments in the world is fraught”. Minister Szijjártó said the winners or losers of this era depended on the way in which countries were able “to join the global automotive revolution” and how each would “take its share of the new automotive era”. “[W]e can safely say that Hungary is now the European champion of this electric automotive transformation, and we are among world leaders in this respect,” he added. The minister said this was largely thanks to Western and Eastern companies finding the possibility of “peaceful cooperation in Hungary”. BMW’s investment in Debrecen, he said, was “an important milestone”, noting that all three German premium car brands would now have a factory in Hungary. This, in turn, attracted massive Chinese investments, and five of the world’s ten largest Eastern battery manufacturers have chosen Hungary for production bases, he added. East-West economic cooperation “is not only possible but owing to interdependence, it is also lawful and has extremely positive benefits such as mass job-creation and the use of cutting-edge technology”. Last year, for the first time, the production value of Hungary’s automotive industry exceeded 10,000 billion forints, he said, adding that in the first eight months related growth of 20% was recorded.