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Szijjarto warns against EU becoming ‘anti-China bloc’

Hungary's government wants to avoid the European Union becoming an "anti-China bloc", Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Stockholm on Friday, urging strategic cooperation instead of systemic competition.
12. May 2023 17:12

“We don’t agree at all with the way certain European countries want to define China as a kind of systemic rival,” Szijjarto said during a break in an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers, according to a ministry statement.

Though there are both external and internal efforts to turn the EU into “a kind of anti-China bloc”, Hungary definitely wants to avoid this, he said.

“We believe that the European Union should strive for strategic cooperation with China,” he added.

Highlighting the strong economic ties between the EU and China, Szijjarto pointed out that bilateral trade turnover reached 860 billion euros last year, with Germany, France and Italy accounting for 46 percent of it.

“It’s not the central European countries that are China’s biggest trading partners, but rather the biggest western European countries,” the minister said.

He emphasised that China’s GDP now exceeded that of the EU. Whereas in 2010 China accounted for just 9 percent of global GDP compared with the EU’s 22 percent, the situation today is reversed, with China accounting for 18 percent of global GDP and the EU 17 percent, he said.

Szijjarto said it would be pointless for western European countries to want to sever the economic links between China and Europe, noting the “clear division of labour between East and West” that has emerged in the auto industry.

Western companies produce the electric vehicles and Eastern companies make the batteries for them, Szijjarto said, stressing that “neither works without the other.”

“We recommend that politics not interfere with this,” Szijjarto said. “Let’s let this division of labour created on a rational, reasonable economic basis work so that the European economic area and China can both adequately profit from it.”

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