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Hungary’s foreign minister praised the progress the Hungarian economy has made in the past decade at a forum in Hong Kong.

Within just ten years Hungary “came from last to first” in terms of economic growth in the European Union, Péter Szijjártó said at the Asian Financial Forum. At the end of last year, Hungary had the highest growth rate among EU members, whereas in 2010 it had been placed 28th, Szijjártó said. The foreign minister praised the government’s “unorthodox” economic policy, fast adaptation of new technologies, as well as tax changes that all led to a higher growth rate. The government had made the strategic decision of continually cutting labour-related taxes and increasing wages, he added. Referring to the government’s Eastern Opening strategy, Szijjártó said that the East has at least as great an impact on the global economy as the West. He noted that 38% of new jobs last year had been created by Chinese, Korean, and Japanese companies. The minister noted that Hungary was the first EU member to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative and that it has also joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).