The government’s opening to the East policy has been a “true success story”, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Friday. Szijjártó told an India-Hungary business forum in Delhi that the policy was based on the economic projection that the role of the East would continually grow.
“Fantastic economic growth is proof of the strategy’s acuity,” he added. Over twelve years, exports to the East increased by 45 percent, while trade between Hungary and the East grew by 48 percent, he said, adding that some 60 percent of foreign investments in Hungary came from the East.
Szijjártó opened the forum in the company of Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi. He said that trade between Hungary and India has been record high for several years, reaching 1 billion dollars last year after 26 percent annual growth.
“Based on these figures, we can say that the Hungarian economy has taken its share of India’s economic growth,”
Szijjártó said that to bridge the great geographical distance between the two countries, the governments had set four tasks, and it was was up to businesses to grasp the ensuing opportunities.
The first is to maintain good relations between the governments based on mutual respect, he said. After the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war,
the Hungarian government helped 6,218 Indian citizens to safely leave the area. Also, 1,257 Indian students applied in a Hungarian higher education scholarship scheme and an additional 200 Indian students won places in Hungarian universities under the arrangements of a general scholarship scheme, he said.
The next two tasks involve the signing of contracts and agreements on financial conditions, he said. Hungary’s Eximbank has opened a 560 million euro credit line to promote Hungary-India business opportunities.
The upcoming years will pose some challenges, including migration, economy, energy security and the threat of war, he said. The Hungarian government’s task is to protect its achievements in energy security and the economy. Full employment must be maintained, and the government wants to rely on Indian companies in this regard, he said.
An increasing number of Hungarian companies have entered the Indian market,
he said, citing successes by Hungarian energy drink manufacturers on the Indian market, the fact that a Hungarian company has installed the security system at Mumbai airport and Hungarian communications systems supporting Indian satellites.
Commenting on energy, he said countries that can produce most of their energy needs would be successful, and he noted Hungary’s project to expand its nuclear power station which he said would be up and running by 2030. He said increasing Hungary’s solar energy input from the current 3,000 megawatts to 6,000 megawatts by 2025 and 12,000 by 2035 was a priority.
Nuclear energy and solar energy investments will enable Hungary to make 90 percent of its energy production free of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, he said.
Szijjarto said he would like to see closer cooperation with India in the area of solar energy investments. Hungary has joined the International Solar Alliance to speed up related investments, making Hungary’s energy supplies more secure and enabling the government to keep public utility fees low in the long term, he added.