Szijjarto: China-CEE co-operation also in EU’s interest

Boosting cooperation between China and central Europe is also in the interest of the whole of the European Union, Hungary’s foreign minister said after a China-CEE summit in Sofia on Saturday.

Hungary was represented at the “16+1” summit by Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Speaking to public media, Peter Szijjarto said the unfolding global trade war was “particularly bad news” for the EU, arguing that it would “further reduce” the bloc’s competitiveness.

The EU’s interest lies in free and fair global trade with the least possible barriers to trade, investment and economic relations, he said.

This is why, he argued, when central European countries work to build open and free cooperation with China, they are not just advancing trade ties between themselves and China, but also between China and the whole of Europe.

On the topic of bilateral relations, Szijjarto said the value of Hungary’s exports to China is the highest in central Europe. Hungary is also China’s top investment destination in the region, he added. But Hungary is also looking to further intensify financial cooperation with China with a view to incorporating more and more Chinese funds in the development of its economy, the minister said.

To this end, the state-owned Hungarian Development Bank (MFB) on Saturday signed an agreement with the Bank of China on preparing the ground for MFB’s entry into the Chinese bond market (“Bank of China Limited and MFB Hungarian Development Bank Private Limited Company Memorandum of Understanding Relating to Co-operation on, amongst Others, the Panda Bond Market”), Szijjarto said.

He called the upgrade of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line the “flagship” project of China-CEE cooperation in the area of infrastructure development. Szijjarto argued that the railway line would be the fastest route for Chinese goods from the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to western Europe. The project is expected to be completed by 2023, he said, noting that the construction contract will be signed with the winning bidder later this year.

Source and photo: MTI

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