“The ZalaZone vehicle test track being realised with state funding, and the ZalaZone Research and Technology Centre constructed in its vicinity from private capital, are making Hungary a determining fact within the field of automotive industry development in the long term”, Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics said on Friday at the official inauguration of the centre.

“The high-tech investment environment is playing a major role in economic growth”, the Minister added. “The research and development and innovation activities of enterprises is continuously increasing: in 2017, enterprises spent 1.33 percent of GDP for such purposes, but 1.5 percent in 2018 (while the GDP was also continuously increasing), and there is a good chance that this ratio will reach 1.8 percent in 2020”, he explained.

“The Government is earmarking 165 billion forints (EUR 491 million) for research and development and innovation in the 2019 budget, an increase of 25 percent compared to this year. In addition, a new tender and funding system is also promoting successful research”, the Minister highlighted.

“The ZalaZone Research and Technology Centre functions as an ‘incubation centre’, giving home to training courses and cooperation between enterprises and universities. The Government, the city and the local private sector are jointly creating an opportunity for Hungary to become the Central European centre for self-driven vehicles”, Mr. Palkovics told reporters.

“The modern infrastructure further is reinforcing the arrival of new research & development capacities in Hungary, while the influx of foreign capital is expanding the opportunities available to small and medium-sized enterprises, and provides a boost to the economy”, he added.

Mayor of Zalaegerszeg Zoltán Balaicz (Fidesz-KDNP) indicated that a 135-person research and technology centre had been realised within the framework of the Smart Field development project. He also reported on the fact that a government proposal is being drawn up that would enable the country’s second Science Park (after Szeged) to be realised in Zalaegerszeg.

The region’s Member of Parliament, Government Commissioner László Vígh (Fidesz) pointed out that the development projects are placing Zalaegerszeg and the region onto an unprecedented development trajectory.

Managing Director of investor Z-One Park Gábor Molnár highlighted the fact that the research centre will be the knowledge base for the Zalaegerszeg vehicle test track, which will contribute to the region’s engineering and technology development projects.

At the inauguration ceremony, Hungarian Vice President of Flex Ágota Péter and Managing Director of Test Track Zala Ltd. András Háry concluded a cooperation agreement on research and development project initiatives, increasing the region’s industrial and development capacity, and on local engineering training courses.