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Menczer welcomes new Ningbo-Budapest flight

The new Ningbo-Budapest flight operated by Shanghai Airlines is "of extraordinary importance" in view of the war in Ukraine, Tamas Menczer, state secretary at the foreign ministry, told a ceremony at Budapest's international Liszt Ferenc Airport marking the departure of the first flight late on Monday.

Menczer noted the Hungarian government “is among those supporting peace”, and said China “has a huge role in amplifying the voice of the peace camp … China wants peace and the Hungarian government supports China’s peace plan concerning the war in Ukraine.”

Regarding the economy, Menczer said the European Union’s “harmful sanctions have separated the economies of Europe and Russia,” which he said was debilitating for Europe.

“There appear to be endeavours to isolate the European and Chinese economies which would be equal to decapitation,” he added. “The Hungarian government does not support those endeavours … or the European Union or NATO becoming an anti-China bloc,” he said. “Rather than systemic competition and building blocs, the Hungarian government urges building connections,” he said.

Menczer also pointed to the increasing role of eastern economies, and said eastern investments accounted for 70 percent of global development, while the share of western countries had been reduced to 30 percent from an earlier 80 percent. He also said while in 2010 China accounted for 9 percent of the global GDP and the EU 22 percent, China’s contribution has increased to 18 percent and the EU’s has fallen to 17 percent.

The state secretary said he was proud of Hungary and China having a “comprehensive strategic partnership”, and Hungary’s having become “the number one destination of Chinese investors in central and eastern Europe”. Chinese investments in Hungary now total 8 billion dollars, Menczer said, adding that the highest FDI to Hungary arrived from China in 2020 and 2023.

Concerning the new flight, Menczer said it would operate twice a week. Scheduled direct flights now connect Budapest with four cities in China: Ningbo, Beijing, Chongqing and Shanghai, he said. From July on, ten direct flights between Hungary and China will operate, close to the 13 before the pandemic, he added.

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