Hungary does not see China as a risk factor or a threat, but as a country with which cooperation is beneficial, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Brussels on Thursday, urging the European Union to seek a relationship based on mutual respect rather than rivalry with China.
Unlike Hungary, most EU member states see economic cooperation with China as a threat, Szijjártó stated at a news conference after a Foreign Affairs Council meeting. He noted that China’s GDP is now higher than the EU’s. While in 2010, China accounted for 9 percent of global GDP and the EU for 22 percent, China’s share has risen to 18 percent and the EU’s to 17 percent, he said.
If Europe sees China as a rival, it will lose out,”
Szijjártó emphasized that if the car industry, which he said was the backbone of the European economy, was to reinvent itself, Western carmakers needed electric batteries, for which they depended on Eastern, especially Chinese, companies. This “healthy division of labor” is not a risk but rather an opportunity to develop civilized East-West cooperation, the minister said.
Meanwhile, he criticized the EU’s planned eleventh sanctions package against Russia for including eight Chinese companies. He said this would provoke a reaction from Beijing and eventually lead to a negative spiral. Turning to the economic relationship between the EU and the United States, Szijjártó said the “patriotic measures” introduced by the US would help American companies, while the sanctions imposed by the EU would hurt the bloc’s competitiveness.
He said it was a “naive illusion” on the part of the European Commission to try to negotiate with the US government to alleviate the discrimination faced by European companies. Szijjártó said the EU should instead copy the American measures to benefit European companies.
Featured photo via Facebook/Szijjártó Péter