“The European Union’s approach to China is hypocritical in view of the fact that cooperation is a pan-European interest, as is the fact that Central Europe should develop its infrastructure while also applying Chinese resources”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a statement to public media in Bucharest, where he is attending a two-day informal meeting of EU foreign ministers.

On Friday, Romania, which is the current President of the Council of the European Union, placed the relationship between the EU and China on the agenda of the session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, and also invited prospective EU member states to the second part of the discussion.

According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, it is clear that China will soon be the world’s largest economy, and for this reason the success of European cooperation with China is of determining importance from the perspective of Europe’s future competitiveness.

“The old dogma according to which capital can only flow from West to East in search of cheap labour is no longer true. Today, eastern companies are dictating the rate of transition of the global economy to at least a great as extent as western ones, and in fact in many sectors the technology required for future competitiveness is being developed in the East, and that is where it is first put into operation”, he explained.

“This is why cooperation with the Chinese is of key importance, because if the EU cannot cooperate with China, then the newest technological solutions will become inaccessible to us within several sectors of industry, and that would mean a decline in European competitiveness”, Mr. Szijjártó continued.

According to the Hungarian Foreign Minister, the EU’s china policy is hypocritical under the circumstances in which trade flow increased by almost 30 percent over the period of a single year, and approached 600 billion euros last year, while the largest volume of trade is being realised by countries – Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain and the Netherlands – that are the loudest in voicing criticism of China. “Central Europe also wants it share of the advantages of cooperation, and this not only serves regional interests, but also pan-European ones”, he stressed.

“Cooperation between China and Central Europe is fundamentally about infrastructure development projects towards which European resources are not open. Accordingly, the application of Chinese funding for North-South infrastructure development projects is in the interests of all of Europe, in addition to which this cooperation also means development projects for the Western Balkan region, which as a result could become more ready to join the EU and a lot earlier”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

Mr. Szijjártó also criticised Brussels for hindering the European integration of the Western Balkan countries, calling it unacceptable that the European Commission does not want Balkan enlargement until 2025, despite the fact that this is in Europe’s economic and security interests.

“There is no need to wait another six years. We believe that accession could occur much more rapidly in the case of  both Serbia and Montenegro. This would be in the economic and security interests of the whole of Europe, including Hungary. There are extremely serious tensions in the Western Balkans, which could be brought under control most more rapidly if the European integration process were accelerated”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade underlined.