Central and Eastern Europe has become the most competitive investment environment on the continent, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told the opening ceremony of a forum attended by representatives of countries in the region and China in Budapest on Monday.
In his address, Orbán insisted that the 16 CEE countries attending the forum were the “engine” behind Europe’s economic growth. He noted, however, that “the star of the Orient is high” in global economy; with the Chinese economy soaring, Europe will need to involve the East “technically and financially” to develop further.
Europe must not turn inward or else it will lose on opportunities for development, especially “at a time when it faces historic challenges which it cannot meet unless it has powerful allies”.
Orbán insisted that the “16+1 formula” would not only serve the interests of its participants but the whole of Europe, adding that it was “a real win-win situation”.
The prime minister also announced that the public tender for the refurbishment of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line, financed from China, would be announced during the day. He referred to the project as a “flagship”, the first major scheme implemented in cooperation between China, an EU member state and an EU aspirant. He added that the renewed railway would ensure the fastest way for Chinese goods through central Europe to the West.
Orbán said financial cooperation was a top subject at the summit, and added that the Eximbanks of Hungary and China would sign an agreement on the second phase of the China-Central Europe Fund later in the day.
China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang said at the opening ceremony that cooperation was mutually beneficial for all participants. He noted that in recent years economic cooperation between China and the CEE region has gradually been increasing, reducing the distance between Europe and Asia.
China’s economy has gained a huge momentum; many new companies are set up each year, which create a lot of new jobs and contribute to the modernisation of traditional industries, the Chinese premier said.
China and central and eastern Europe complement and boost each others’ economy, and may find new paths to success on the international market together, Li said. Chinese imports may also open up opportunities for local businesses, he added.
Tourism is on the rise between the countries, Li said, with a growing number of Chinese tourists visiting central and eastern Europe every year.
All political and financing conditions are in place to ensure “the most fruitful” cooperation between companies in China and central and eastern Europe, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told the opening ceremony of a business forum attended by representatives of China and 16 CEE countries, in Budapest on Monday.
Szijjártó said that countries in the CEE region offer good opportunities for Chinese companies through their “reasonable policies, economic growth above the European average and competitive investment environment”.
Szijjártó added that no open issues have remained to hinder business cooperation between China and the CEE region.