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The need to maintain pragmatic economic cooperation with China is also made clear by the example of Hungary, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said after meeting OECD Secretary General Mathias Cormann in Paris on Monday. He argued that Hungary was a meeting point for the German auto industry and Chinese electric battery manufacturers and that the EU’s “political decision” requiring all new vehicles sold in the bloc to be electric by 2035 meant that the continent needed enough batteries. Of the ten largest battery manufacturers in the world, 7 are Chinese and 3 South Korean, Szijjártó said. This, he added, made it obvious that if Europe were to cut cooperation with the East, the European auto industry and its electromobility strategy would fail, jeopardising millions of jobs. Hungary in recent years has regularly seen new investment records, Szijjártó said, adding this was critical to protecting jobs. “The reason why we’ve been able to constantly set new investment records is because Hungary is an excellent meeting point for Eastern and Western businesses,” he said.
Meanwhile, Szijjártó said his meeting with Cormann had also touched on the fight against inflation, which, he added, “isn’t helped by Brussels’s sanctions”. They also discussed the potential future expansion of the OECD as well as the organisation’s upcoming report on Hungary, he said. Szijjártó said cooperation between Hungary and the OECD was beneficial and based on mutual respect. The OECD represents the approach which says economic decisions must be based on common sense, “otherwise it will be very difficult to recover from the global economic crisis”, the minister said.