Mihaly Varga - Photo: MTI

Finance Minister: Hungary ‘gateway’ between Europe, Asia

Hungary has become a gateway between East and West, as shown by the growing volume of eastern investments, the finance minister said in his speech at the Budapest Eurasia Forum on Thursday.

The change is thanks to government measures, which prioritises Hungarian interests in economic policy and so promotes wide-ranging cooperation rather than creating blocks in the world, Mihaly Varga said.

The work-based economic policy has improved the investment environment for companies, as mirrorred in the reports of rating agencies, he said.

Economic performance is now 5.3 percent over pre-pandemic levels, as opposed to the EU average of 3.5 percent, he said. The investment rate, at 27 percent, is one of the highest in the EU, he added.

State debt has fallen from over 80 percent in 2010 to 65 percent in 2019. It rose somewhat since but is still below the EU average by 10 percentage points, he said.

Hungary is actively boosting cooperation between Europe and Asia through its Eastern Opening programme, introduced after 2010, and actively supports the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.

Long-term investments such as the upgrade of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line and the development of the Central Europe Trade and Logistics Coorporation Zone (CECZ) will further strengthen Hungary’s role as a gateway between Europe and Asia, he said.

Gyorgy Matolcsy, the head of the National Bank of Hungary, highlighted the importance of strengthening the ties between Europe and Asia, speeding up green transition and knowledge sharing.

NBH and the conference itself are focusing on sustainability this year, he said.

Regarding the green transition, “China is ahead of Europe and the world,” but all players must do their role to handle climate change, “one of the greatest challenges facing humanity,” he said.

The fourth Budapest Eurasia Forum is being held on November 23-24, featuring more than 50 speakers from 15 countries.

Leave a Reply