FM: War in Ukraine “is causing serious economic damage”

Europe “is facing serious difficulties and its economy is quickly deteriorating,” the foreign minister said.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that apart from the casualties and destruction, the war in Ukraine “is causing serious economic damage”, which underlines the importance of establishing peace as soon as possible. He added that “unimpeded economic development” was conditional on peace.

Europe “is facing serious difficulties and its economy is quickly deteriorating,” the foreign ministry statement quoted Minister Szijjártó saying at the council meeting in Brussels with foreign trade on its agenda. “The situation has been deteriorating since the outbreak of the war.” Szijjártó said the EU’s “ill-advised” measures had dealt a serious blow to the bloc’s competitiveness, adding that in the wake of the EU sanctions against Russia “energy prices and inflation have skyrocketed”. He said that unlike the US and China, the EU had failed to take measures to protect their own businesses. “What’s more, the EU has introduced further red tape hindering economic growth”. While the US administration allocated 370 billion dollars to support strategic industries, “member states here need a permit from Brussels to provide a subsidy for investment projects from their own coffers,” he said, adding that the European Commission’s procedures “often take years to complete”. The minister slammed the EU for applying “an ideological approach to economic issues, as a consequence of which the world is falling into blocs again, which also hinders economic growth.” “Brussels and other Western European capitals are seeking to destroy absolutely sensible East-West cooperation,” he said, adding that this could potentially “knock out” the European economy. It was “indispensable” to help the EU “become a winner rather than a loser in the global economy’s most significant revolutionary transition; that is, the transformation of car making,” he said. Hungary is a good example of the benefits of cooperation between East and West, Szijjártó said, adding that cooperation with Eastern countries had brought the country “to the forefront of the global technological revolution, with tens of thousands of modern jobs.” Hungary has “thus become the meeting point for Eastern and Western economies, thanks to a marked presence of German, Chinese, and South Korean companies,” he said. The Hungarian government “will not support any measures … that could hinder, prevent, or make more expensive cooperation between the EU and China,” he added. The minister insisted that the European and Hungarian economies “could not grow as much without Chinese investments as with close cooperation.” Meanwhile, the council voted to increase duty on Russian and Belarusian food imports, Szijjártó said, adding that Hungary was the only country that had abstained. All this, the foreign minister said, “highlights the importance of peace”. “Hungary has paid a high price for the war in the form of 10 billion euros of dearer energy bills,” he said, adding that the country had also spent most of last year fighting inflation. The foreign minister insisted that the war and sanctions in response were to blame for rising inflation instead of the government’s “so-called mistaken economic strategy and bad decisions”.