“Construction work on the new BMW plant in Debrecen may now begin”, Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics announced on Tuesday following the signing of the purchase agreement relating to the infrastructurally-prepared plot of land in the city, with which the area of land selected for the investment project has now become the property of the BMW Group.

“The Government has contributed 130 billion forints (EUR 388 million) to the development of the transport infrastructure relating to the north-western industrial park zone in Debrecen, which will also be home to the plant, in addition to which we will be spending 35 billion forints (EUR 105 million) on the development of Debrecen’s education system in the interests of providing a highly-trained workforce for the company operating in the city in the long term”, Mr. Palkovics indicated.

“This is the end of one hundred years of solitude”, the Minister said, referring to the fact that it has been a hundred years since the region had an investment of this volume, which is “one of the country’s success stories”.

“Over six thousand new workplaces were created in Debrecen between 2014 and 2019, the total value of investments exceeded 580 billion forints (EUR 1.73 billion), and a further 600 billion forints (EUR 1.8 billion) in development funding has been ‘assembled’ for Debrecen up to 2030”, Mr. Palkovics recalled.

He also spoke about the fact that the training of engineers in the city will be made competitive within the framework of the Education Development Program, and 400-500 new engineers will be trained each year at the University of Debrecen. “In the interests of supporting innovative cooperation between universities and enterprises, eight science parks will be established around the country, and the proposal on the establishment of Debrecen’s science park will soon be put before the Cabinet”, Mr. Palkovics said.

The Minister explained the difference between the current trajectories of the Hungarian and German economies, which had been generally been moving together until now, with the “coming to fruition” of high-tech investment projects, the high level of technology being applied, and the high level of productivity, pointing out that the Hungarian economy achieved 5.2 percent growth in the second quarter of this year compared to Germany’s 0.4 percent. Mr. Palkovics noted that the Hungarian automotive industry is one of the continent’s frontrunners: there are currently 620 Hungarian automotive industry enterprises, include 20 of the sector’s largest global corporations. “According to a recent IMF survey, the ratio of high-tech investment projects in Hungary is 70 percent, and Hungary is the largest exporter in the European Union within this field”, he added.

Plant director Michele Melchiorre told reporters that the construction work on BMW’s car manufacturing plant in Debrecen will begin in the spring of 2020, adding that 250 BMW employees are already working to prepare for the construction work on the Debrecen plant, and the first HR staff member joined the company in August, meaning that the recruitment of employees has also already begun. An office has already been opened in Debrecen, and prospective employees are being selected with great care in view of the fact that a highly trained, skilled workforce is paramount, the director indicated. The new plant in Debrecen will be manufacturing cars fitted with both battery and internal combustion engines.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Parliamentary State Secretary Levente Magyar said the BMW investment will be “setting a new course” not only for Debrecen, but for the whole county and Transtisza region. He indicated that industrial performance in Hajdu-Bihar county has increased by 40 percent during the past five years. Today, Hungary produces 500 thousand cars and 2.5 million engines every year, and the new BMW plant will be “a new jewel in the crown of the Hungarian automotive industry”, he stated.

Mayor of Debrecen László Papp (Fidesz-KDNP) called the BMW investment the largest development project in the city’s history, which in addition to the economy, has also opened new horizons for the region within the fields of job creation, education and transport infrastructure.

(Ministry of Innovation and Technology/MTI)