The total value of Hungarian exports may reach the 100 billion euro landmark for the first time in 2017, based on data from the first nine months of the year, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told parliament’s economic committee on Monday in Budapest.
With an export of 93 billion euros, Hungary’s trade surplus in 2016 reached 10 billion euros, Szijjártó said.
In an annual comparison, export has grown by 9 percent, 6.1 billion euros, he said. Fully 80 percent was directed to the European Union, he said. Export to countries outside of the EU grew faster than average, by 12 percent, the minister said.
As an export-oriented country, Hungary did well to open towards the fastest developing countries in the south and east, Szijjártó said.
Export to the East has grown by 15 percent, and to southern countries by 22 percent, he said.
Speaking of foreign investment in Hungary, Szijjártó said that, due to the government’s investment incentive system, 71 foreign investments launched in Hungary in 2016, totaling 1038 billion forints (EUR 3.3bn). In January-November 2017, 79 investments worth 949 billion forints were started, he said.
The government seeks to improve export possibilities for Hungarian companies worldwide and to entice foreign companies to invest in Hungary in an ever more competitive international environment, Szijjártó said.
Szijjártó: member states have right to discuss EU future
Member states cannot be stripped of their rights to discuss the issues around integration, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said.
The “historic challenges” the bloc faces, such as terrorism, immigration, energy security, Brexit and the Ukraine situation, “have stayed with us” during the past year, Szijjártó noted. With 28 sovereign states comprising the EU, serious debate on these issues is natural, the minister said. It is antidemocratic and unacceptable to call those insisting on the right to discussion un-European, he said.
Concerning terrorism in particular, Szijjártó suggested that it was now “an everyday phenomenon” and said that “Hungary refuses to accept it as something we have to live with”.
“We expect Europe’s institutions to act against it at last,” he said.
He also argued that terrorism was a direct consequence of “1.5 million illegal migrants coming to Europe without any control in the past two years; this movement does offer an opportunity for terrorist organisations to send their fighters without any problem”. He insisted that rather than advocating policies “encouraging migrants to leave for Europe”, the EU should negotiate with countries in Africa and help remove the causes of migration”.
“Europe’s security will start in Africa,” he said.