Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said that China’s strengthening economy offers a fount of opportunities to countries in central and eastern Europe.
The prime minister addressed representatives at the 7th China-CEEC Summit (16+1 Summit) in Budapest and said Asia is increasing its weight “in the new world order which is now forming”. He added that China had become “a dominant financial and technological power”.
PM Orbán said central and eastern Europe harboured great potential but technology and financing from outside Europe was required to meet future development needs since the continent’s resources were no longer sufficient.
The prime minister called China-CEE cooperation a success story. At present, 11 EU member states and five non-EU countries are involved in the 16+1 cooperation with China.
PM Orbán said the project to upgrade the Budapest-Belgrade railway line with China’s involvement is a “flagship” enterprise, the first major scheme implemented in cooperation involving China, an EU member state, and an EU aspirant.
The prime minister said that the renewed line would ensure the fastest way for Chinese goods through central Europe to the West. The “16+1 formula” not only serves CEE interests but those of the whole of Europe, he added.
PM Orbán said financial cooperation was a top subject at the summit, and added that the Eximbanks of Hungary and China were poised to sign an agreement on the second phase of the China-Central Europe Fund.
Meanwhile, Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said small and medium-sized enterprises should be given a bigger role in China-CEE economic cooperation.
He said SMEs are the backbone of the Hungarian economy and one of the best ways they can attract more support is by convincing more and more large corporations to invest in Hungary.
The minister highlighted how Hungary offers, among other things, a low corporate tax rate and support for the use and research and development of new technologies to foreign investors.
He said the presence of Hungarian firms on the Chinese market is also important, as is selecting the right sectors in which Hungarian companies can be successful there.
The minister said Hungarian and Chinese business representatives would sign a number of cooperation agreements worth over 800 million USD in total.