“Over ten years Hungary has gone from last to first among the member states of the European Union when it comes to economic growth”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared in a speech at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong on Monday.

“Ten years ago, Hungary was ranked 28th, in last place, among the member states of the European Union from the perspective of rate of economic growth, but by the end of last year it had moved up to first place”, the Foreign Minister explained in his speech during the section of the Forum entitled “Reinterpreting Development”.

“When the government took office in 2010, Hungary was teetering on the edge of economic bankruptcy”, he underlined, adding that the government was then faced with two possible paths: to work for survival with the help of methods aimed at security, or to aim to achieve a better economic performance than before for the period following the crisis via a more courageous economic policy that is often called “unorthodox”.

“Our bold economic policy, which went hand-in-hand with rapid technological changes, required a totally different approach from the government”, he underlined. “Hungary introduced a flat rate tax system with the lowest rates of tax in Europe, which were of key importance in enabling Hungary to boast the highest rate of economic growth within the European Union today”, he stated.

“The Hungarian government made a strategic decision according to which it is continuously reducing the taxes on work parallel to increasing wages, because as we enter the digital age employers are hiring increasingly highly trained workers, which in turn means higher salaries”, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted. In addition to the importance of tax policy, the Minister emphasised the introduced dual training system, because through this enterprises are also given a role in the development of the secondary school curriculum, while students have an opportunity to leave school with competitive skills and knowledge.

“Hungary wishes to be one of the European centres of the fifth generation (5G) telecommunications system, and as an important step in this 5G services were launched in central Budapest a few months ago, while Vodaphone and Huawei are jointly working on establishing 5G infrastructure to cover the whole of Hungary”, he said, noting that Hungary does not differentiate between enterprises based on their nationality, and accordingly is also happy to host Huawei’s huge telecommunications investment projects.

The Hungarian Foreign Minister also spoke about the government’s Eastern Opening policy, pointing out: “The Hungarian government recognised that the East is influencing global economic changes to at least the same extent as the West”. Listing the results of the government’s policy, he note that 38 percent of the new workplaces created in Hungary last year were created by Chinese, South Korean and Japanese investments, Bank of China has chosen Budapest as the site of its regional headquarters and Hungary was the first member state of the European Union to join China’s One Belt, One Road global economic infrastructure project, in addition to which Hungary has also joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

“Nevertheless, while the Hungarian government is fully aware of the process of globalisation, it continues to place its national interests at the forefront, and accordingly in addition to favourable tax rates it is placing emphasis on maintaining good relations with the regions that are dictating the rate of global economic change”, he added.