Hungary and the German federal state of Bavaria have signed a new three-year cooperation scheme aimed at preserving their shared economic achievements in the current “challenging period”, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Thursday.
“Global politics and the global economy are going through dramatic changes, and times like these increase the importance of stable, predictable and reliable partners,” the foreign ministry cited Szijjártó as saying at a joint press conference with Melanie Huml, Bavaria’s minister for European and international affairs, after a meeting of the Hungarian-Bavarian mixed committee.
The state of Bavaria is Hungary’s top trading partner in Germany and its second biggest German investor, Szijjártó said. Around one-third of Hungary’s exports to Germany flow into Bavaria, he said, adding that bilateral trade turnover reached 15 billion euros last year. The Hungarian government has signed strategic cooperation agreements with six Bavarian companies in recent years, he said.
“Hard times will always reveal true friends,” and Bavarian businesses proved their loyalty even during the coronavirus pandemic, with 26 companies having invested 28 billion forints (EUR 70.7m) in Hungary, thereby helping to preserve 12,300 jobs, the minister said.
Szijjártó said Hungarian-Bavarian ties had always been based on mutual respect and mutual advantages. The two states also share the goal of preserving their existing economic achievements in the current “difficult environment plagued by war and inflation”.
He said Hungary offered the most competitive investment environment in the whole of Europe, arguing that it had the lowest taxes and a stable energy supply.
The government considers it important to uphold European unity regarding the war in Ukraine, but it has had to fight for the country’s energy supply security because the Hungarian economy could not function without Russian energy, Szijjártó said. Hungary treats energy supply not as an ideological issue but a “rational and physical one”, and does everything it can to protect its energy supplies, he added.
Szijjártó noted that Hungary and Bavaria have signed a new three-year cooperation programme covering 51 areas, including the joint financing of Budapest’s German-language Andrássy Gyula University and cooperation on renewable energy.
Asked about relations between the Hungarian and German governments, Szijjártó said bilateral ties never had been based on which political parties were in power. Hungary always respects election outcomes in other countries and cooperates with whoever is elected by the people, he added.