Szijjártó: Budapest - Belgrade Rail Upgrade Deal Signed With China

  • 7 Nov 2016 8:00 AM
Szijjártó: Budapest - Belgrade Rail Upgrade Deal Signed With China
The deal with China on upgrading the Budapest-Belgrade rail line was signed on Saturday during a China-CEE summit in Riga, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told journalists. Hungary and China have reached “a new milestone” in ties, he said, adding that Hungary had always shown commitment to furthering cooperation between central and eastern Europe and China.

The agreement concerns the first large-scale cross-border CEE investment financed by China, he added, noting that the region’s north-south infrastructure is less developed than that traversing east and west.

China has “a very important role” to play in developing the former, the minister said, emphasising the importance of investment cooperation with China, given its financial strength and high technological standards.

Hungarian state rail company MAV will a China-Hungary joint venture with carrying out the upgrade of the Budapest-Belgrade line, he noted. The JV will establish railway companies, and given that MAV has entrusted these companies with carrying out the project, all European Union regulations will be met, the minister said.

Also signed was an agreement on opening financial negotiations which ensures that the conditions for the loan are linked to the proportion of participation by Hungarian companies in the project in such a way that their participation is maximised, he said.

Further, an agreement is being signed on Chinese investment in Hungary, Szijjártó said. China’s aim is to locate production in Europe and to expand its presence on the continent. So far 3.7 billion US dollars of Chinese investments have arrived in Hungary, mainly in production.

New Chinese investments are coming to Hungary in the car industry, he said, adding that the current agreements will ensure that Hungary remains one of the most important destinations for Chinese investments.

Meanwhile, Szijártó announced that Hungary will host the summit of Chinese and central and eastern European leaders in 2017. Hungary considers it a “huge honour” to be able to host next year’s “16+1” summit, he said.

The 2017 summit will mark the return of the “16+1” to Hungary, after having hosted a summit of economy and finance ministers in 2011, Szijjártó noted.

Directives passed at the Riga summit will tighten Chinese- CEE cooperation in the areas of infrastructure developments, relations among citizens, financing cooperation and the green economy and the food industry, he said.

The Budapest summit will serve as a venue for evaluating the accomplishments of the partnership’s cooperation in these areas, he added.

Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.

MTI photo: Szecsődi Balázs

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