Orban: The star of the Orient is high

Central and eastern Europe has become the most competitive investment environment on the continent, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told the opening ceremony of a forum attended by representatives of countries in the region and China in Budapest on Monday.

In his address, Orban insisted that the 16 CEE countries attending the forum were the “engine” behind Europe’s economic growth. He noted, however, that “the star of the Orient is high” in global economy; with the Chinese economy soaring, Europe will need to involve the East “technically and financially” to develop further. Europe must not turn inward or else it will lose on opportunities for development, especially “at a time when it faces historic challenges which it cannot meet unless it has powerful allies”. Orban insisted that the “16+1 formula” would not only serve the interests of its participants but the whole of Europe, adding that it was “a real win-win situation”.

China’s strengthening economy offers a fount of opportunities to countries in central and eastern Europe, Orban said at a press conference after the forum. He noted Asia’s increased weight “in the new world order which is now forming”, adding that China had become “a dominant financial and technological power”. Orban 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.

China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang said at the opening ceremony that cooperation was mutually beneficial for all participants. He noted that in recent years economic cooperation between China and the CEE region has gradually been increasing, reducing the distance between Europe and Asia. China’s economy has gained a huge momentum; many new companies are set up each year, which create a lot of new jobs and contribute to the modernisation of traditional industries, the Chinese premier said. Tourism is on the rise between the countries, Li said, with a growing number of Chinese tourists visiting central and eastern Europe every year.

At the press conference, Li Keqiang said China would like to see a prosperous Europe, and the country supports both European integration and the development of countries aspiring for EU membership. China seeks to import as many goods and services from the CEE region as possible and to promote the development of its infrastructure, he said. In the years to come, China seeks to open its gates even wider to the world, including central and eastern Europe, he said. In a move to reduce its trade surplus, it would like to increase its farm purchases from this region, he said.

Boyko Borisov, prime minister of Bulgaria, the host of the next China-CEE summit, noted that his country would hold the EU’s rotating presidency in the first half of 2018. The summit will focus on the situation and development of the Western Balkans. It is also from this aspect that Bulgaria sees huge potential in China-CEE cooperation, he said.

Source and photo: MTI


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