‘Hungary has become indispensable in the European automotive industry, and our country is competing with the very same states for electric battery factories that are the most vocally critical of Chinese investments in their political communication. This is an economic life insurance for us,‘ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Thursday in Budapest, according to a statement from his Ministry.
The minister stated at the opening ceremony for an event by the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) that the issue is not whether such factories are built or not, but rather their exact locations. He emphasised that even stricter rules must be followed in Hungary than in most European countries for these investments. He also pointed out that Hungary is already the world’s fourth-largest producer of electric batteries; and that in the last thirteen months, batteries have been the country’s top export product. Thus, it cannot be earnestly argued that ‘this is a something mysterious’ and ‘we don’t know what will come of it.’ ‘Until now, the opposition had no problem with the project. Then, all of a sudden, the idea emerged that it would be better if these factories did not create tens of thousands of jobs in Hungary, but somewhere else,’ he said.
Szijjártó went on to state that
Hungary has become the meeting point for Eastern and Western investments,
which is a guarantee o long-term economic growth and protection against uncertainties. All three German premium car manufacturers have production plants in Hungary, and three of the world’s seven largest electric battery manufacturers are already present in the country. Meanwhile, Western companies have become completely dependent on Eastern partners. ‘This is Hungary’s economic life insurance. We are indispensable in this regard,’ he said.
Subsequently, Péter Szijjártó also addressed the debate over why the government supports large international companies instead of domestic small and medium-sized enterprises. ‘I believe that one of the most significant support for Hungarian companies is precisely the fact that we bring large investments to Hungary that create long-term demand for their products and services,’ he said. He highlighted that the success of the strategy aimed at strengthening the role of Hungarian suppliers is demonstrated by the fact that last year, a time stricken by multiple crises, the production value of the electronics and automotive sectors reached a record high.
Furthermore, he emphasised that we must stand up against the efforts to divide the world into new blocs, as this is sharply contrary to the interests of Hungary, and indeed all of Central Europe, since the region has always lost out in the conflict between East and West. Instead, connectivity based on mutual respect and benefits is needed. ‘This is our policy, this is what would serve our interests. To achieve this, dialogue must be maintained, and yet even the mere maintenance of this dialogue requires a huge struggle. We must endure powerful attacks,’ he added. ‘By maintaining contact with the part of the world to the east of us,
we are not violating our alliance commitments, we are not worse allies.
We are just clearly serving our national interests.’
Finally, the minister also touched on the topic of the war in Ukraine, mentioning misguided Brussels measures, and almost unprecedented security and economic challenges. He stated that the negative effects are felt extremely severely and directly in the vicinity of the armed conflict, and the danger of possible escalation is the highest here.
‘When we argue for a ceasefire, for peace talks, and for peace to be established,
we do not represent the position of either of the belligerent parties, but our own.
Moreover, we represent the position of a nation whose members are dying in this war,’
Minister Szijjártó summed up.