“We can expect tough debates at the meetings following the European Parliament (EP) elections, but it is already evident that the Central European region will have a much greater capacity to further its interests that it did prior to the elections”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told reporters at the GLOBSEC security policy forum in Bratislava on Friday.

Hungary’s chief diplomat highlighted: “The fact that the Hungarian and Polish governing parties received the highest levels of domestic support in the European Union indicate that the people of Central Europe are committed to a strong European Union, but would like an EU that is based on strong member states, as opposed to the Unites States of Europe proposed by the mainstream”.

The Minister underlined that the region’s stronger interest enforcement capability is also based on is stronger economic performance, and in the first quarter of this year four out of the EU’s five most rapidly growing economies were Central European. “We have made rational decisions, introduced low taxes, and have put the security of our own countries and our own citizens in first place”, he said.

“The success of the region’s economic policy is also proven by the fact that the world’s most rapidly growing East Asian economies are showing a major level of increasing interest in Central Europe”, Mr. Szijjártó emphasised. With relation to this, he cited South Korea as an example, highlighting the fact that in recent years the Southeast Asian country’s automotive industry companies, which have also acquired a huge share of the European market, have invested over 500 billion forints (EUR 1.56bn) in Hungary and have created over 3,200 particularly high added value jobs based on research & development.

The Minister underlined that those major East Asian manufacturers of electric vehicles that are bringing production capacities to Europe are in the most part choosing the Central European region, and within it primarily Hungary: three of the five East Asian electric automotive industry manufacturers with European production capacities already have plants in Hungary. Hungary is contributing to this with, amongst others, low corporation taxes, the continuous reduction of the tax burdens on work, and funding for research & development.

With relation to the 29 May Danube boat accident involving South Korean tourists, Mr. Szijjártó said that last Friday he had assured his South Korean counterpart that the Hungarian authorities are doing everything in their power, “and even more” to bring the wreckage of the tourist boat involved in the accident to the surface from the bed of the river. He stressed that the authorities are making an extreme effort to search for bodies, to enable the deceased to receive a proper burial as soon as possible.

The Minister promised an “impartial and unbiased, but strict” investigation into the accident, adding that the suitable conclusions will be drawn, and the necessary punishments will be imposed. He said that in his opinion the past week has convinced South Korea that the Hungarian party was serious about what it said with relation to the issue a week ago, adding that since then the South Korean Prime Minister has expressed his thanks to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for Hungary’s efforts.