László Kövér, the speaker of Hungary’s parliament, signed on Friday a cooperation agreement with a high-ranking Chinese offical on strengthening cooperation between the assemblies of the two countries and promoting mutual visits by leading parliamentary officials.
The accord was signed by chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China Zhang Dejiang on the first day of Köver’s official visit to Beijing, parliament’s press chief, Zoltán Szilágyi, said in a statement.
Cooperation between their respective parliamentary committees will address issues such as peace and security as well as promoting dialogue between cultures at international parliamentary forums.
Kövér said the Hungarian government’s eastward opening policy had recently borne its most fruitful results in relations with China since its launch in 2010, signalled not only by rapid trade growth and Chinese investments in Hungary but also by more intensive ties in education, culture and tourism.
Kövér noted that some 3,000 students study Chinese in 12 Hungarian universities and 265 Chinese students study as part of Hungarian scholarship schemes.
A Hungarian cultural institute has opened in Beijing while four Confucius Institutes operate in Hungary, he noted. “We are proud that Budapest is home to the Confucius Institute’s central and eastern European regional training center,” he added.
Kövér assured his Chinese counterpart of the Hungarian parliament’s full support for China’s Belt and Road initiative. They noted that the Budapest-Belgrade rail project underwritten by China would be an important European component of that initiative.
“We will be the most active and cooperative supporters of the program in the future, and representatives of the Hungarian parliament and its partners will provide all possible support for this cooperation,” he said, adding that parliament stood ready to provide help to implement the strategic partnership declared during the last visit of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to China.
Zhang Dejiang assured Kövér of China’s commitment to China-CEE cooperation, the most important forum of which will be the government summit to be held in Hungary this autumn.
Cooperation as part of the 16-plus-one concept, not only benefits China in its approach to the European Union, but also offers a great opportunity for the region on an economic and political level, Kövér said.