Hungary can be bridge between China, Europe

Updated: 2012-04-30 14:19


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BUDAPEST - Hungary's Minister of National Economy Gyorgy Matolcsy said his country can evolve as a bridge between China and Europe.

Ahead of Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Hungary, Matolcsy told Xinhua that he believes Hungary can be "a laboratory" by geographic terms for East-West and China-Europe partnership.

"We had a political and then economic breakthrough between China and Hungary," when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban in June last year.

Matolcsy called Wen's visit a "milestone" in the bilateral relationship. "We managed to build up a shortlist of would-be strategic projects between the two economies and also between the two governments," he said.

"We will be able to finalize a good deal of the projects," and hopefully during Li's visit next week sign about seven agreements between the two governments covering a range of promising projects, such as logistics and transport projects, Matolcsy said.

Matolcsy regarded the current bilateral economic relationship as "excellent as well as promising." However, the minister saw the opportunity to broaden the scope and strengthen the ties.

"We need time to build up a really fruitful strategic partnership between China and Hungary, because probably we lost a couple of years," he said.

The minister hoped Hungary can capitalize on what he calls "excellent proposal from the Chinese government" to grant credits via Chinese Development Bank for joint projects especially in the eastern part and northern part of Hungary.

Chinese companies such as Bank of China, chemicals giant Wanhua, telecoms Huawei and ZTE have already made large investments in Hungary. "We would like to offer the Central Europe region to Chinese investors as a natural transport hub and natural industrial center," Matolcsy said.

"Here in Hungary we are at the very heart of a new emerging European rim, Central and Eastern Europe, which stretches from the Baltic countries to the Adriatic Sea," Matolcsy explained, believing this region can be a success as the Pacific Rim region has been.

Matolcsy's optimism is backed by an argument which boosts Hungary's ambitions to become a regional bridge between Asia and Europe.

"We are of Eastern origin," Matolcsy said, referring to Hungarians ancient roots in central Asia. "Hungarians have always tended to exist somewhere between West and East," he added.