Prime minister Viktor Orbán – Photo: PMO

Orbán: Hungary to become meeting point for most developed companies from East, West

Hungary's national economic strategy is built on the idea to make Hungary a meeting point of the most developed companies from the East and the West, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday.

Orbán expressed his congratulations in Baku for the revival of the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA).

He said that after participating in international politics for 33 years, his experience was that the past 10 years had been very different from the previous 20. Following the financial crisis, Europe was hit by a migration crisis eight years ago, which was followed by a pandemic, then the war broke out in Ukraine and most recently, the security crisis started in the Middle East, he added.

“We must prepare for having to find solutions that promote the development of our respective countries under stormy circumstances even in the future,” he said.

The revival of SPECA can be of great help in this situation, he added.

Europe has been in the frontline of the aforementioned challenges, with a war under way in Europe, the continent’s competitiveness deteriorating, more and more countries developing parallel societies, and the threat of terror continually growing, he said.

European economic growth rested on a firm basis in the past three decades, he said. The idea was to link developed western technology with easily and cheaply available energy from the east, mainly from Russia, he added. However, as a result of the war and the response given to the war, this cooperation has disintegrated and no new strategy has been developed, he said.

A great debate is under way in Europe about how to link the continent with the world located to the east. “There are two schools of thought in this debate, one wants to get separated and the other wants to get connected,” he added.

Car manufacturing is a backbone for the European economy, and as there is a need for green transition, large western manufacturers depend on eastern suppliers, he said.

Central Europe has lost out on blocs forming in the world before, Orbán said. “We want the economic era forming now to be determined by connections and cooperation based on mutual respect.”

A new, successful European economic strategy is impossible without a connection between central Asia and Europe, he added.

Orbán said central Asia’s role had grown considerably recently from Europe’s point of view, and future connections and a civilised East-West cooperation needed mediators. “We in Europe see central Asia as a region connecting European and eastern routes of transport, trade and digital relations.”

A safe, reliable and modern transport route between Europe and Asia is also in Hungary’s interest, he said.

“Hungary has the highest proportion of Asian investments, and the role of central Asian energy resources in growing constantly,” he said.

The government is working to strengthen that process in the future, and so it is supporting initiatives strengthening the region and cooperation there, he said.

Hungary was one of the signatories of the UN declaration hailing cooperation in the region, he added.

The government is also building a strong, “brotherly friendship” with Azerbaijan, and has fostered strong cooperation in the energy industry, he said.

Trade between the two countries is expected to top all records this year, and the number of companies in Azerbaijan is growing. The first deliveries of natural gas from Azerbaijan have arrived in Hungary.

Hungary will be happy to continue developing economic cooperation between central Asian countries, Orbán said.

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