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The European Union is “making pathetic attempts” to hamper investments in EU member states, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Friday, adding that investments were the only way to avoid recession amid the war and sanctions. Szijjártó told a press conference after a meeting of EU foreign trade ministers that Hungary had used investments as a key economic booster after the coronavirus pandemic, and that it would need them to maintain growth. Member states are currently allowed to issue government subsidies of up to 37.5 million euros to support investments without EU approval, he said. “We hit records in the past years, but we could have drawn even more investments had the European Commission not blocked them,” he said, calling for a suspension of the regulation. Approval procedures can take more than a year, he said. Certain Hungarian approval applications have been before the body for 4 years, he said. “That is unacceptable even in normal circumstances, and undercuts European competitiveness,” he said. The measure is putting investments worth hundreds of thousands of euros and the creation of “hundreds, maybe thousands” of jobs at risk, he said. “The EC is blocking Hungary from accessing the monies it’s entitled to, and even hinder us from using our own money to create jobs,” he said.
Szijjártó also touched on trade disputes between the EU and the US, saying that US competitiveness and trading positions had improved greatly recently. “The European economy’s decline into recession is good news for the US, and they can obviously profit from it,” he said. Measures like the US Inflation Reduction Act, “discrimination against European electric cars” and tariffs on aluminium raise the suspicion that the US “have breached regulations of world economy”, he said. The EU should support its own economy and companies in the face of such measures, he added.