Szijjarto attends cornerstone-laying ceremony of BMW plant

The construction of BMW's new plant in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary, a 400 billion forint (EUR 1.0bn) investment creating over 1,000 jobs, is a symbol of the successful economic policy of the past 12 years, the minister of foreign affairs and trade said on Wednesday, at the plant's cornerstone-laying ceremony.

Peter Szijjarto told the event that after preparatory works since 2018, the construction of the plant’s buildings has now started. Production of a new, fully electric BMW model will start in 2025, with some 150,000 vehicles turned out every year, he said.

The plant is a “milestone, not only for Debrecen and eastern Hungary, but the entire Hungarian car manufacturing industry”, he said.

BMW is already present in the Hungarian car manufacturing industry, the “backbone” of the country’s economy, by way of a supply chain of 54 companies employing nearly 10,000 people, he said.

Szijjarto said the investment mirrored the “entire success story of the Hungarian economy in the past 12 years”. “It mirrors the way we rose … from the brink of bankruptcy to boasting one of the steepest growth rates in Europe. It mirrors the fact that we went from a 12-percent unemployment rate to record employment, the introduction of the flat income tax rate … And it mirrors the fact that although Hungary has only the 95th largest population in the world, it is ranked 35th in terms of its export performance,” he said.

Hungary has created one of the most investment-friendly environments in Europe by providing a well-trained work force and “exceptional political stability”, he said.

Besides Germany, Hungary is the only country where Mercedes, BMW and Audi, the three premium German car manufacturing giants, all have plants, he said. The BMW plant will cement the country’s leading position in the transition to electric car manufacturing, he said.

BMW’s Hungarian sales jumped by a record 16 percent last year, he added.

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