The key to European competitiveness is that the EU-level alliance be further consolidated by bilateral relations between nations, too, Minister of National Development Miklós Seszták said at a business forum held for Italian and Hungarian construction companies in Budapest.

The 2014-2020 development period will bring the economy of the continent to the threshold of a new age, where the only way for it to stay a viable and constantly renewing economic force is by finding new solutions and pursuing a creative economic policy, he added.

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In view of the above the Széchenyi 2020 Programme, which is to determine Hungary’s development for the years to come, is an historic opportunity for the country, the Minister of National Development pointed out. It is the Hungarian model launched in 2010 that has been made the cornerstone of the economic policy, the essence of which is to focus development on economic development, job creation and on ensuring a decent life for those who work, the Minister outlined.

Miklós Seszták reported: by 2020, transport and infrastructure development are to receive an overall funding of over EUR 3.9 bn from national and EU resources, while almost EUR 3.8 bn are to be spent on environmental and energy efficiency projects. Thus, Hungary has every chance to be among the winners of the coming years and become one of the engines of growth in the region, he concluded. In this upswing, Italian and Hungarian economic players will have several opportunities for meaningful cooperation, the Minister added.

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Ambassador of the Republic of Italy to Budapest Maria Assunta Accili stressed the importance of the traditionally excellent relations between the two countries. Italy is Hungary’s number five trade partner with a trade turnover of EUR 7.7 billion, she said. There are more than 2500 Italian businesses present in Hungary; their annual turnover is just a little under EUR 4 billion, she added.

There are positive signs in the Hungarian economic environment; last year’s statistical data reveal the consolidation of the basic structures, she emphasised. These facts show encouraging perspectives for growth, the Ambassador pointed out. The essential trust in Hungary’s future gives an impetus for developing cooperation, she noted. Maria Assunta Accili underlined that the Italian construction industry had an annual turnover of over EUR 130 billion, with some 18 companies active in the sector, present all over the world.

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Managing Director and Deputy Chairman of the National Federation of Hungarian Contractors (ÉVOSZ) László Koji said the Federation had been the first professional federation since the economic transition; it was 25 years old and had 25 years’ relations  with the Italian Association of  Private Construction Contractors. The Italian construction sector, being a financially strong and export-oriented sector, has always had a strong influence on the Hungarian construction industry.

The performance of the Hungarian construction industry is a good pulse indicator of the country’s economy, he added. The sector has overcome recession; the past two years have witnessed dynamic growth with 14.2% in 2014, which will surely be repeated in 2015, László Koji opined.

(Ministry for National Development)