Budapest, September 30 (MTI) – Feedback from German companies plays an important role in Hungary’s economic policy, the economy minister, Mihaly Varga said on Wednesday.

Varga told a conference on Germany’s reunification that trust was a basic element in political-economic relations between Hungary and Germany in the past 25 years.

The conference was organised by Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung, the Antall Jozsef Knowledge Centre and the Andrassy Gyula German Language University.

Varga added that the Hungarian government maintained special cooperation with the German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Trade, and a joint committee has been set up that reviews relations every 3 months and seeks to find joint solutions to problems. He cited as an example the testing period introduced for the electronic road haulage system (ekaer) at the request of German companies.

Varga said the German economy has a dominant role in central Europe and the Hungarian government wants this to remain stable in the long term.

Commenting on the Volkswagen emissions scandal, he said vehicle production accounts for more than 22 percent of Hungary’s industrial output and German companies play an important role in this, providing jobs for some 100,000 people. It would be unwise for the Hungarian government to take hurried steps. Jobs must be preserved and vehicle production should continue with the same capacity, he added.

At the same time, Hungary must make efforts to reduce its exposure to the vehicle industry. German-Hungarian economic relations should be broadened in the trade of medical instruments, plastics and food, he added.

Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel was surprised during her most recent visit to Hungary to see the strong presence of German companies, Varga said. More than 6,000 German companies account for around a quarter of Hungary’s international economic relations and the total value of German investments in Hungary in the past 25 years tops 20 billion euros, he added.

Commenting on Europe’s labour market problems, he said the Hungarian government does not believe that these could be resolved in the short term by receiving migrants. Unemployment is currently around 10 percent in the EU and these people should be given jobs first, he said. Europe needs more workers but it must be seen that “the mass of migrants currently arriving will not necessarily make up for missing German or Hungarian skilled workers but in the short term,” he added.


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