“Hungary’s economic outlook is positive despite the negative European environment. Hungary has benefited a lot from the strategy that has made it an important meeting point for Eastern and Western investors,” Péter Szijjártó claimed in Budapest on Tuesday. At the forum of the US-Hungarian Business Council (USHBC), the Foreign Minister said that US companies constitute the second largest investor community in Hungary. With a total of 1,700 companies employing 105-110,000 people, they undoubtedly play a major role in sustaining economic growth, reported Magyar Nemzet.
Szijjártó pointed out that the global economy has been turned upside down twice in the last few years, most recently by the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, which has had a very serious impact on Hungary as a neighboring country. The minister recalled that in recent years there has been much debate about whether the government should change its economic strategy to create a work-based society. Some argued that public resources should be used to help people who lose their jobs, but instead the focus ended up with strategic steps to prevent unemployment. As a result of the announced investment stimulus program,
last year was the most successful year in Hungarian economic history, with record levels of investment, employment, and exports.
Regarding the energy crisis, he pointed out that the Factory Rescue Program is intended to support companies in reducing their energy dependence. Partly due to this, exports rose by ten percent in the first eight months of the year, while last year’s record investment of EUR 6.5 billion could be doubled this year.
Projects through the public investment support scheme have created 50 percent more jobs than last year.
He also evaluated the competitiveness of Europe that in his view, has deteriorated a lot in recent times. The previous growth model collapsed because it was built on a combination of advanced Western technologies and relatively cheap Eastern energy resources, but the war in Ukraine deprived us of the possibility to keep these connections. In this context, he said,
it was a crucial problem that now Europe is to pay seven times more for natural gas than the US, and three times more for electricity than China.”
In addition to the above-mentioned, he added that reasonable cooperation with Russia in the energy sector is to be maintained, as there is no alternative for Hungary at the moment.
He welcomed the fact that Hungary has become an important meeting point for Eastern and Western investors, especially in the automotive sector, which is the backbone of the European economy. The sector is currently facing major challenges, with decisions on the electric switchover, while Western manufacturers of excellent vehicles have become totally dependent on batteries from the East.
“One may love it or hate it, but the world’s top ten electric battery manufacturers are all from the East, with a market share of around 98%,” he said. The minister pointed out that all three German premium car brands have a production base in Hungary, where they have even located key elements of their electromobility strategy. Meanwhile, five of the ten largest battery manufacturers in the world will soon be present, so that in a few years Hungary will move up to the second place in the world ranking of the production of electric batteries, from its current fourth place.
”The future of the European economy depends on the success of the automotive transition, and this transition is happening in Hungary. This creates a significant position for our country despite the negative economic environment Europe shall face currently,” Szijjártó concluded.
Via MTI, Magyar Nemzet; Featured image via Péter Szijjártó’s Facebook