The competitiveness of the European Union as a political and economic integration is weaker than ever before; the continent is losing out by allowing itself to be drawn into a competition with the United States over who can provide greater military support to Ukraine, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó stated on Saturday in Tihany.
In his speech at the Tranzit festival, the minister emphasised that it was a huge mistake to enter into this competition with the world’s number one military power, resulting in the fact that natural gas in the United States costs one-seventh of what it does in Europe, while electricity in China costs one-third of Europe’s. He believed that while Brussels is ruining the economy of the continent with sanctions,
Washington shamelessly puts US companies in advantageous positions.
He also considered it a serious problem in connection with this ‘incredibly misguided’ policy that the world is moving rapidly toward renewed bloc formation.
‘Maybe this is good for some, maybe this is good for the leaders of the blocs, but it’s not so pleasant for those who are between the two blocs,’ he said, urging civilised cooperation between the East and the West. He stressed that the Hungarian government does not hold this position because it is an agent of one party or another, but solely because it is in the national interest. ‘Those who have been trying to accuse us of being pro-Russian are the ones who stood by idly for four decades while the eastern part of the continent suffered under communist dictatorship,’ he said. ‘East-West cooperation is not a question of political taste, not a matter of preference, but a question of national interest, a matter of national security interest,’ he added.
He emphasised that with China’s overtaking last year, the EU’s economy is now in third place globally, and its share of the world’s GDP has decreased. He highlighted that
Europe should therefore cooperate as closely as possible with China;
however, serious efforts are being made to cut this relationship, which would be in stark contrast to the interests of the continent and Hungary within it. Szijjártó pointed out that the model for European economic growth so far has been built on the combination of Western technology and Eastern energy carriers. ‘This fabric has been cut thread by thread, one by one, and it has been cut with joy, with pleasure,’ he said. He revealed that this is already a heavy blow, but if the same thing happens in relation to China, it would be ‘a complete knockout’, as bilateral trade turnover is around 800 billion euros annually. He also noted that while politicians want to cut the last ties of East-West economic cooperation, the largest European companies are basing their future economic strategies on Chinese supplies.
The minister recalled that despite the crises of recent years, Hungary has not only managed to survive, but has also been able to grow economically. He cited as an excellent example of this that last year, the Hungarian economy achieved ‘a triple victory’, breaking records in investments, exports, and employment. He considered it important for Hungary to turn the situation to its advantage and carve out a larger share of the revolutionary transformation of the global economy, which is dictated by the automotive industry. He emphasised that the world’s largest electric battery manufacturers are in the East, so Western companies in the sector are in a strongly dependent position.
‘And here we come.
Our time has come because by becoming the meeting point of Eastern and Western investments, we provide a life insurance for Hungary,
we provide a guarantee that in the coming years, Hungary will be the winner of the big global economic transformation that the automotive revolution dictates,’ he said. In this context, he praised the success of the Opening to the East strategy, which promoted Eastern investments in Hungary. ‘Today, Hungary has the fourth-largest electric battery manufacturing capacity in the world, and when the ongoing investments are completed, we will be second. After China, we will be second, and this guarantees that the Hungarian economy will remain on a growth trajectory in the coming years as well,’ he stated. ‘If we had pursued a foreign policy over the past few years that aimed to please external actors, if we had pursued a policy of alignment, none of this would be possible today,’ he added.
‘If these electric battery factories had not come to Hungary, the jobs of hundreds of thousands of Hungarians would be in danger, as the Hungarian automotive industry directly employs 170,000 people, and indirectly…roughly 3.5 to 4 times more,’ he summarised.
Finally, Szijjártó stated that a huge battle is underway for these investments, and unfair means are being used in the process. ‘One such example is misleading people who care about their homes, exploiting their concerns, deceiving them, and using them,’ he said, referring to the opposition parties anti-battery-factories campaigns. ‘It is an extremely unfair, absolutely contrary to national interests, an anti-national endeavour to deceive the Hungarian people and to create a movement that would result in these factories being built not in Hungary, but in Germany, France, the United States, Sweden, and who knows where, and people being employed there and jobs protected, which this whole revolution, the automotive revolution, is bringing about.’, he opined.
Sources: Hungarian Conservative/KKM