“It is in the interests of both Central Europe and the whole of the EU for cooperation with China to be tightened”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared following a meeting of the heads of government of China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries (China-CEEC) in Sofia, Bulgaria. At the meeting, Hungary was represented by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

In a statement to public media, the Minister explained: “It is extremely bad news for the EU that we are in a period preceding a general global trade war, because a possible war of this nature would lead to a significant further reduction in the European Union’s competitiveness”. “It is in the interests of the EU for global trade to be free and fair, and for the fewest possible restrictive measures to hinder our trade, investment and economic relations”, the politician said.

According to Mr. Szijjártó, when the countries of Central Europe are developing an open, free and unhindered cooperation with China, they are facilitating the dynamic expansion of European competitiveness not only relative to relations between China and Central Europe, but also relations between China and Europe in general. With regard to bilateral relations, the Hungarian Foreign Minister explained that Hungary exports the most to China from the region and the most significant Chinese investments in the region are sin Hungary, but further emphasis is also being placed on increasing financial cooperation to enable the inclusion of as much Chinese capital as possible in the development of the Hungarian economy.

“Accordingly, on Saturday the Hungarian Development Bank (HDB) and Bank of China concluded an agreement on preparations for the appearance of the HDB on the Chinese bond market in the interests of attracting further resources”, he told the press. The Minister confirmed that the flagship of cooperation between Central Europe and China within the field of infrastructure development is clearly the modernisation of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line, which will offer the fastest method of transport for Chinese goods from the “Maritime Silk Road” towards Western Europe. “The project is expected to be completed in 2023 in view of the fact that the agreement with the winning contractor will be concluded this year”, Mr. Szijjártó added.