(MTI) – Although Europe and Asia depend on each other, perhaps Europe needs Asia a little more, Economy Minister Mihaly Varga said on Friday.
The countries of Europe and Asia chose different paths after the financial crisis, he told MTI over the phone after the Asia-Europe forum in Milan, where he represented Hungary. Europe followed a policy of austerity measures while Asia focused on maintaining economic growth. The numbers show that Asia’s crisis management strategy has been more successful, Varga said.
The Hungarian government has been more successful than most EU countries with its policies of boosting jobs and investments. Hungary’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.9 percent in the second quarter, and was up by 0.8 percent on the previous quarter. Based on these data Hungary was a frontrunner in the European Union, he said.
Varga noted that while many European companies outsource activities to Asia, the products manufactured there return to Europe in the form of imports. In order to keep production and demand going, employment and wages must be raised, the minister said.
The Hungarian government’s policy of opening towards the east and maintaining policies towards the west has proven right and other countries are now opening even more towards Asia, Varga said.
The 11th Asia-Europe Meeting of economic ministers was held with the participation of 49 countries and representatives of several international financial organisations, where issues of trade, investments, economic-financial developments as well as cooperation were discussed. An informal meeting of euro zone ministers was also held and one of EU finance ministers will follow on Saturday on the sidelines of the meeting.
Photo: MTI – Janos Meszaros