After holding talks in New York with the United Nations’ two Deputy Secretary-Generals, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó gave a speech at the organisation’s conference on innovation and digital development.

At the UN high-level forum on “Innovation and Digital Connectivity”, Mr. Szijjártó stressed that innovation is key with regard to the future.

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“A totally new era has begun within the global economy and in global economic competition, and following a race to reduce taxes and develop infrastructure, the time has now arrived for a digitalisation competition within the global economy, and in this competition the most important question is who is capable of digitalising its own economy the most rapidly, and who can link production in their country to digitalisation the most quickly”, the Minister said.

In his speech, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted the fact that by introducing the lowest level of corporation tax and personal income tax in the European Union, and with its extremely dense transport network that lies at the centre of Europe, Hungary has become the European winner of the tax cuts and infrastructure development competition. “We are not satisfied with this, however, and would also like to become the European winners of the digitalisation competition, to which excellent foundations are being provided by the fact that the high-tech sectors of industry now also regard Hungary as a development centre”.

Mr. Szijjártó said that the digital economy already represents 20 percent of Hungary’s GDP and 15 percent of the people employed in Hungary work within the digital economy, adding that in the interests of winning the digitalisation competition, and to attract further ultra-modern investments, Hungary is consistently remaining 2 years ahead of the European digitalisation schedule.

He also pointed out that by next year the number of devices connected via the internet will already have exceeded the total number of mobile phones in the world.

In his speech, the Hungarian Foreign Minister explained Hungary’s targets for the upcoming years according to which by 2018 every household and enterprise in Hungary will have access to superfast broadband internet, which means a speed of 30 megabits/second. The Government is reducing VAT on internet services from 18 percent to 5 percent and will be the Central European centre for 5G development and testing. Mr Szijjártó felt it as important to stress that this could also contribute to reducing poverty. He emphasised however, that according to plan Hungary will succeed in having the large automotive industry, IT and electronics companies that form the backbone of the Hungarian economy develop and test their state-of-the-art technologies in Hungary.

In reply to a question, the Minister said that although it could give rise to further challenges, we should not be afraid of digitisation, because it contributes to reducing poverty and improving the standard of living.

Prior to the forum, Mr. Szijjártó held talks with UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed, and informed the two officials that Hungary supports the comprehensive reform of the United Nations to enable the organisation to operate more efficiently and react more rapidly to major challenges.

Mr. Szijjártó also declared that Hungary supports the UN reinforcing its role in the fight against terrorism and is strongly in favour of the UN placing much greater emphasis on preventing conflicts. In the interests of the success of these endeavours, the Hungarian Government has decided to provide 50 thousand euros in funding towards the UN’s conflict-preventing diplomatic activities, and a further 50 thousand euros towards the establishment of an international and independent mechanism to ensure that the perpetrators of the worst crimes in Syria do not remain unpunished, Mr. Szijjártó said told his negotiating partners.

During his meetings with the two high-level UN officials, the Hungarian Foreign minister also explained that the reform of the UN was necessary in the interests of enabling the organisation to act as effectively as possible to protect Christian communities throughout the world.