Hungary views Russia as a strategically important partner in the areas of economic cooperation, energy security, and the protection against the coronavirus pandemic, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Thursday.
Szijjártó attended the announcement of Russian-owned Arnest Group’s first Hungarian investment, the foreign ministry said in a statement. The 17 billion forint (EUR 47m) aerosol filling and metal container production facility to be built in Alsózsolca by end-2024 is receiving a 7 billion forint state grant and training subsidies, and the investment will create 256 jobs. Szijjártó said the proportion of investments from the East in the Hungarian economy was growing, vindicating the country’s policy of opening to the East.
Agreement on the development project went ahead despite sanctions against Russia and in the face of criticism of pragmatic bilateral cooperation, he added. Several international players wanted to prevent cooperation, but, he added, the
Hungarian government had a vested interest in partnership based on mutual respect from which both sides profited equally.
He accused western European countries of aiming for the same cooperation while resorting to hostile remarks, “driven by political correctness”, and
signing “huge business deals” in Russia or with Russia.
Since the introduction of European Union restrictions in 2015, trade between EU member states and Russia increased by 16 percent, Szijjártó said, noting that German exports rose by 21 percent and French exports by 44 percent.
Had the government not pursued foreign policies based on national interests and instead yielded to pressure, Hungary would have been much less successful in the fight against the pandemic, in guaranteeing energy security, and achieving economic success, he said.
Hungary-Russia trade increased by 51 percent last year and Hungarian exports rose by 15 percent, exceeding 2 billion dollars, he added. The production value of the Hungarian chemical industry increased by 41 percent last year, reaching 7,000 billion forints, and the sector currently employs almost 95,000 people, he added.