“The transition from a production-orientated economy to a technology-orientated economy is occurring successfully”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in Debrecen on Wednesday at the official inauguration of Krones AG’s first plant to be constructed outside Germany.

The foreign minister also said that Krones AG had built the production facility in Debrecen with an investment of 15 billion forints (EUR 45 million), creating 500 new jobs. He added that the Government had contributed 5.5 billion forints (EUR 16.5 million) in non-refundable funding towards the investment. The plant in the southern industrial zone near the airport produces beverage filling and packaging equipment.

Mr. Szijjártó pointed out that Hungary is in the first place in the European Union with economic growth of more than 5 percent, and to have essentially achieved full employment with an unemployment rate of just 3.3 percent.

“Hungary is one of the most competitive countries, and the products and services produced here can stand their ground anywhere in the world”, he said, pointing out that while the country is ranked 92nd with relation to its population, it is the world’s 34th largest exporter. “Hungary is one of the world’s 35 countries that export more than 100 billion euros, and over the past five years we have broken our investment and export records every single year," he said.

The Minister once again called Debrecen an investment champion, adding that the city had become ‘the most competitive city in all of Central Europe" over the past five years. He added that during the first half of the year, 43 major investments had been agreed upon at a total value of HUF 731 billion (EUR 2.19 bn), of which three will be in Debrecen, and accordingly the capital of Hajdú-Bihar County is first in the investment rankings in a tie with Zalaegerszeg and Komárom.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade recalled that not only the new investors, but also the companies settled in the city were satisfied with the opportunities in Debrecen: 84 percent of the companies said they would take their investment to Debrecen again if they had to decide now.

Mr. Szijjártó said that Germany is Hungary's number one trading partner. Last year, bilateral trade flow between the two countries exceeded 54 billion euros and in the first half of this year it reached 29 billion euros. The over 6,000 German companies operating in Hungary employ 300,000 Hungarians, and over the past five years 101 German investors have invested 2,000 billion forints (EUR 6 billion), according to the Foreign Minister.

Mayor of Debrecen László Papp (Fidesz-KDNP) emphasized that Krones was the first company to build a factory near the airport in the city’s southern industrial zone; the value of the investment is one third of the total assets of the local machine industry. Between 2014 and 2019, seven German companies began greenfield investments in Debrecen, creating 2,500 new jobs with a total investment of 400 billion forints (EUR 1.2 billion), he added.

He also said that between 2014 and 2018 employment in Debrecen increased by 17 percent, almost double the national average, increasing the number of jobs in the city by almost eight thousand five hundred. Mr. Papp pointed out that there are currently 700 hectares of industrial infrastructure in Debrecen, 500 hectares in the northwest economic zone and 200 hectares in the southern zone, where the Krones factory is located.

Managing Director of Krones Hungary Ltd. Pascal Männche confirmed that the company had decided to build its first European factory outside Debrecen in a highly competitive environment because of the "great infrastructure" (airport, highway, rail transfer) and well-trained professionals. According to the Managing Director, 450 workers have already been recruited to the Debrecen plant, where trial production began on the first production line in January, and where four large assembly lines and laser cutters will be installed within the next few days. The company plans to produce one million euros worth of products a day at the Debrecen plant, he added.

Member of the Board of Directors of Krones AG Ralf Goldbrunner said the inauguration of the company’s first non-German manufacturing plant in Europe as a milestone in the company’s history. The Krones Group employs 16,500 people and has an annual turnover of around 4 billion euros. With the start-up of its Debrecen plant, Krones will increase its competitiveness, profitability and market position, he added. The Debrecen plant is "introducing new manufacturing processes and a new system approach that will serve as a model for the entire Krones Group," the director said, noting that one in four bottles of mineral water in the world are filled using machines manufactured by the company.