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Hungary greatly benefits from the strong cooperation between Chinese and German carmakers, “which guarantees economic growth despite all uncertainties and crises,” Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Munich on Tuesday. In his address at international mobility exhibition IAA (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung), Szijjártó said “if there is one country in the world whose economy is determined by car making, that is clearly Hungary,” according to a statement from the foreign ministry.
Car manufacturing accounts for one third of Hungary’s industrial output, worth 30 billion euros last year and with exports totalling 20 billion euros, the minister said. He added that the sector employed 170,000 people in Hungary. Meanwhile, though western European carmakers developed the best electric cars, the necessary batteries were produced by eastern companies, he said. “This is the first time that western European companies of a leading sector have become totally dependent on eastern suppliers,” he said, adding: “Hungary has become an important meeting point for eastern and western investors”. “For us a civilised cooperation between East and West is always better; we have usually been on the losing side without such cooperation,” he said.
Szijjártó said an approach to separate the European and Chinese economies “to remove risk” was regrettable. “Trying to remove risk is the actual risk for us here in Europe,” he insisted. Szijjártó noted that five out of the ten largest battery makers had “made a commitment” to Hungary, adding that the country was currently the fourth largest battery maker in the world, and “soon it will be the second”. According to Szijjártó, Chinese producers prefer Hungary because of the presence of German makers, as demonstrated by the development projects of CATL and Eve Energy. “Close cooperation is needed between Chinese and German firms … and we Hungarians profit from it a lot,” he said.