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Developing cooperation with China will be an important goal of Hungary’s EU presidency, as it could greatly help achieving environmental and competitiveness goals, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said, after talks with Wang Yi, his Chinese counterpart, by phone. Szijjártó said that China was a valuable partner also because “it is one of the most decisive, vocal and committed champions of peace”, according to a statement from the foreign ministry. He welcomed the Chinese-Brazilian joint proposal for peace in Ukraine, and said Hungary was fully backing it as it could serve as a good basis for a ceasefire and peace talks. Szijjártó said that he and Wang were in agreement that “we must boost our efforts to broker peace, “because that is the only way to avoid even more loss to the warring parties, Europe and the world”. Another focus of Hungary’s rotating EU presidency between July 1 and December 31, 2024, is improving competitiveness, and the talks with Wang also touched on developing European-Chinese economic ties, he said. Economic cooperation with China could be a booster for European competitiveness, which has deteriorated a lot recently, he said.
“Hungary is the best example of the benefits of an economic cooperation between East and West based on mutual respect and common sense, as the largest eastern and western companies are cooperating here,” he said. Europe would prosper if it could tighten cooperation with China rather than using an ideological approach and striving for isolation, introducing tariffs,” he said. EU tariffs on Chinese car industry players were raising serious concerns, he said, as cooperation with those companies was key to the electric transition of western European car makers, the foreign minister said. Isolating those players from one another would bring environmental as well as competitiveness issues, he said. “We will work to make sure that the EU and China enter into economic cooperation based on mutual advantages, rather than engaging in a tariff or trade war,” he said. Such an approach is in the EU’s and Hungary’s interest, as a tariff and trade war would put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk, Szijjártó added.