Hungary would strongly support even closer economic cooperation between Europe and China, the separation of the two economies would be a “total blow” and would make it impossible to improve competitiveness, according to the Ministry’s information, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
At a panel discussion held at the annual meeting of the Chinese One Belt, One Road initiative, the head of the ministry reported that the European Union is now in a rather bad shape and is facing the most serious economic and security challenges of the past decades.
He pointed out that a war has been going on in Ukraine for a year and a half, and unfortunately, the EU gave wrong and failed answers to this, because while trying to isolate the armed conflict, it globalized it in terms of negative effects.
“It is necessary to avoid that the war itself becomes global. However, every new day filled with war increases the danger of escalation,” he warned.
In this regard, he described it as an illogical step that Europe allowed itself to be “provoked” in the competition with the United States, which is considered the world’s number one military superpower, as to which side will deliver more weapons to Ukraine. According to him, this was a mistake just because the war was taking place in Europe, so the continent must pay the price in the form of deteriorating competitiveness, casualties, and decaying infrastructure.
He referred to the “complete failure” of the sanctions policy and stated that the set goals were not achieved, Russia was not forced to its knees, the fighting did not end, and moreover, the restrictions hurt Europe more.
Péter Szijjártó pointed out that the competitiveness of the EU is deteriorating day by day, which is well exemplified by the fact that last year China surpassed the Community in terms of gross domestic product (GDP).
He also called the repeated blocking of the world a serious risk in the long term, which, in his words, is “the worst possible scenario for Central Europe”.
He underlined that the model of European economic development has so far been based on a combination of advanced Western technologies and easily available, relatively cheap Eastern energy carriers, however, these bonds are being cut one by one, and there are actors who are advocating the separation of the European and Chinese economies.
The latter would “completely knock out” and “kill” the European economy, as bilateral trade amounts to 875 billion euros per year, he emphasized.
“Hungary is therefore even closer, stronger, more successful and
calls for more effective economic cooperation between Europe and China,” he declared.
The minister highlighted that the goal of the Hungarian foreign policy, which is based on mutual respect instead of the sovereign, criticizing and disciplining others, is to keep the channels of connectivity and dialogue open instead of blocking them because, without them, the international community would even give up hope for peace.
He stated that an important strategic goal of the government is to make our country a meeting point for Eastern and Western companies, which is a guarantee for long-term economic growth.
This was also facilitated by the foreign policy based on connectivity, which proved to be successful after Hungary became the number one destination for Chinese investments in Central Europe and was the first in the EU to join the One Belt, One Road program – he listed.
He then explained that, in addition to Hungary, European companies are also fiercely opposed to the separation from the Chinese economy, as the continent would not be able to regain its competitiveness without close East-West cooperation.
Finally, he also touched on the electric transition of the automotive industry, which is the backbone of the European economy, which, according to him, requires an East-West division of labor, because the batteries for European vehicles are almost all manufactured in China, South Korea and Japan, so a strong dependence has developed.
He said that Hungary has become a success story in this field, apart from Germany and China, the production capacity of all three major German premium car brands is exclusively in Hungary, and five of the world’s ten largest electric battery manufacturers are also present. And thanks to this, Hungary is currently the fourth largest battery producer in the world and will soon rise to second place.
“Hungary believes in connectivity, in strong East-West cooperation, therefore the strengthening of One Belt, One Road will always be the focus of our foreign policy strategy, because we benefit a lot from this,” he concluded.