China’s battery producer Eve Power will build its first plant in Europe in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Tuesday.
Eve Power, the ninth-biggest battery maker in the world, will invest around 400 billion forints (EUR 3.7bn) in the plant which create over 1,000 new jobs, Szijjártó said, adding that the government was providing 14 billion forints to support the project. He added that German car maker BMW had asked Eve Power to supply a car plant it is building in Debrecen with next-generation batteries from a local production facility. The foreign minister said the plant would be environment-friendly, covering 95 percent of the water used from purified waste water and ground waters.
He added that the government would finance new developments in Debrecen, such as modernisation of its water supply and sewerage system, using a budget of 108 billion forints. “I think those rightfully worried about water will be satisfied,” he said. “It is a clear governmental objective to make Hungary a global forerunner of environment protection … we want to make Hungary one of the countries doing the most to protect the environment and save the planet,” he said. “Without electric cars Europe’s green objectives cannot be met, and electric cars cannot be used without batteries,” he said. Without electromobility “the cause of environment protection would be lost, and we would lose the fight against global climate change,” he insisted.
Demand for batteries will increase tenfold by 2030, Szijjártó said, adding that “the question is where those plants will be built and who is going to profit out of those?”. “Countries successfully attracting battery plant projects will receive a long-term guarantee of economic growth,” he insisted, adding that there was fierce competition for such investments. Szijjártó said some countries “would do everything to win those projects, including fair and unfair means alike,” Szijjártó said, adding that unfair means included “misleading people and fear-mongering”. “Obviously, for people the safety of their home is most important … but abusing those concerns is not right and is not to be tolerated,” the minister said.
Residents in Debrecen “have nothing to fear about as regards the battery plant projects”, he said, adding that “Hungary applies a lot more stringent environmental criteria than the European rules”. “Those that won’t meet those criteria will simply not be permitted to build a plant in Hungary,” Szijjártó said.