Hungary is encouraging economic cooperation between the Visegrád Group and Germany to restore Europe’s strength and competitiveness, Hungary’s foreign minister said.
Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that as the current holder of the rotating presidency of the V4, Hungary is leading the drive to deepen ties between the V4 and Germany.
“Europe’s economic axis has shifted towards central Europe,” the minister said in Berlin this week.
Minister Szijjártó added that this is further demonstrated by the fact that trade turnover between the V4 and Germany exceeds German-French trade turnover by 55 percent and is double the volume of trade between Germany and the UK.
He said that this is why cooperation between Germany and central Europe will play a key role in restoring Europe’s economic competitiveness.
Hungarian-German economic ties have broken all records, he revealed. Bilateral trade turnover came to 50 billion euros in 2017, an 8 percent increase over 2016, he said.
On another note, Minister Szijjártó said European Union member states should pursue “civilized dialogue” instead of acting hypocritical when it comes to discussing the most serious challenges concerning the future of the bloc.
There are issues on which Hungary and Germany “don’t necessarily see eye to eye,” he said, pointing out that migration was one such issue.
Hungary considers the protection of the EU’s external borders the top priority and it is committed to preserving the passport-free Schengen zone, he said.
Hungary is also ready to “engage in a civilized debate on any disagreements instead of stigmatizing others and exercising hypocrisy,” he added.
Finally, the minister praised Hungarian-German relations. He said there are 6,000 German companies doing business in Hungary employing over 300,000 people. The minister said the two countries had also worked closely together in deepening defense relations among EU member states.