Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó called modern automotive industry investment projects the key to the development of the Hungarian economy.

At the ceremonious inauguration of the Higher Education and Industrial Cooperation Centre (FIEK) created at the Széchenyi István University in Győr with the help of 14.25 billion forints (EUR 43.9 million) in state funding, Mr. Szijjártó said the FIEK in Győr is expected to increase Hungary’s attractiveness as an investment destination and become one of the most important locations for automotive industry research through some of the continent’s best qualified experts.

He highlighted that the Government regards the FIEK in Győr as a flagship, in addition to which two similar institutions will also be established in the country.

He also pointed out that while in 2010 the annual production value of the Hungarian automotive industry was 4 trillion forints (EUR 12.32 billion), in 2018 this figure was 8.5 trillion forints (EUR 26.19 billion), increasing by a further 11 percent year-on-year during the first three months of this year. “This means that the period in which the annual production value of the Hungary automotive industry exceeds 10 trillion forints will soon be at hand”, the Minister said.

He added that the competitiveness of the Hungarian automotive industry is indicated by the fact that 91 percent of the products manufactured go to export. “While Hungary is in 92nd place in the world based on its population, it is the world’s 18th largest automotive industry exporter”, he said, adding that today the automotive industry provides 30.7 percent of total processing industry output, and there are currently 173 thousand people working within the sector.

Mr. Szijjártó also spoke about the fact that while in 2010 the Hungarian economy was “on the edge of the precipice”, it is now Europe’s most rapidly growing economy. “A dimensional transition is underway; the production-based economy is changing into an economy to which enterprises gladly bring state-of-the-art technologies. One prerequisite for this is that there are enough trained professionals, and that a suitable background is available to small and medium-sized enterprises”, he stated.

“The development of the economy is fundamentally dependent on education, and accordingly solutions are required with which the above EU average rate of growth of the Hungarian economy can be maintained”, he emphasised. He called the Győr university one of the country’s determining centres of higher education, explaining that development projects based on the true requirements of the automotive industry are being realised at the FIEK.

Chairman of the Board of Audi Hungária CLS Achim Heinfling stressed that the institutional cooperation between research & development, education and industry realised via the FIEK is a future-orientated development model that enables the even more effective performance of research projects.

The FIEK has been performing research launched in cooperation with Audi Hungária for years, including friction and emissions testing, research into virtual reality solutions in the automotive industry, and mathematics research.

“Thanks to the FIEK, cooperation between the company and the university is becoming even tighter”, he said, adding that there as eight Audi departments at the higher education institution.

The university’s Rector, Péter Földes spoke about the fact that the FIEK serves as a kind of competence centre within the university. “It is a fundamental pillar of the expectation according to which universities should be open in addition to teaching and performing research, and should show social and economic responsibility”, he explained.

Mayor of Győr Zsolt Borkai (Fidesz-KDNP) spoke about the fact that the new group of buildings is yet another milestone in the cooperation between the city, its industry and the university.

The new centre, which consists of three buildings, includes a packaging examination laboratory, a laboratory for testing internal combustion and electric motors, a turbo test bench, and a management campus that provides assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises via innovation programmes, advice and skill development.