Luxembourg, November 6 (MTI) – Europe has been left behind in the global trade and economic competition after the United States and eleven other countries had signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, Peter Szijjarto, Hungary’s foreign minister, said in Luxembourg on Friday.
Hungary therefore advocates that the European Union should conclude free trade talks with such major Asian partners as Japan, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia as soon as possible, Szijjarto said after the 12th ASEM foreign ministers’ meeting.
In that region, the European Union has so far concluded free trade agreements only with the Republic of Korea, he said.
Szijjarto said Hungary has initiated that the EU should launch free trade talks with the Philippines, and restart negotiations with India.
“If we are unable to conclude free trade agreements with these major Asian nations, Europe will definitely be left behind in the competition for cooperation with the Asian economies,” he said.
The ASEM foreign ministers also discussed the migrant crisis, with Luxembourg, holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, saying that the EU should be governed by solidarity and responsibility in handling the situation.
Szijjarto, in turn, said that the EU is rather characterised by idleness and hypocrisy. “Some EU member states fail to observe even the most fundamental European rules, including the Dublin Regulation and the Schengen Agreement,” he said.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Szijjarto held talks with Vijay Kumar Singh, India’s minister of state of external affairs, on encouraging Indian investments in Hungary.
They discussed plans to set up a fund for promoting SME cooperation, sign a new aviation agreement and train Indian nuclear experts in Hungary.
In 2014 India was the biggest Asian investor in Hungary. This year the Indian SMR Group and TATA Consulting Services are creating hundreds of jobs here, the foreign ministry said.