“The investments realised within the framework of the Vojvodina Economic Development Programme are contributing to the development of both the Hungarian and Serbian economies”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó highlighted on Tuesday in Topolya (Bačka Topola).

The Politian took part in the official inauguration of two extremely important agricultural investment projects in the Vojvodinan town. The projects were realised within the framework of the Hungarian Government’s Vojvodina Economic Development Programme. “Political relations between the two countries have never been as good as they are now, and this is enabling Hungarian enterprises and Hungarian farmers to realise investment projects in Serbia with the assistance of the Hungarian Government”, Mr. Szijjártó said at the inauguration of KITE Agricultural and Service Cls.’s new logistics centre in Topolya.

“These days it is not so much the number of new workplaces created that matters, but rather the technological level of investment projects”, the Minister said, adding that there is more foreign investment arriving in Hungary every year, and the country is continuously setting new records. “In recent years, the Hungarian economy has been developing to first approach and then exceed the average rate of economic growth of the European Union”, he stressed. “This has resulted in a situation in which increasing numbers of Hungarian enterprises are also capable of realising investments, and establishing and increasing market positions, outside our borders, and are also capable of spending more and more resources on the economic development of their home country out of the revenues and profits they have realised from across the border”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

He pointed out that these enterprises are usually from typical Hungarian business sectors, and accordingly it is not surprising that an agricultural machine industry company has grown to such an extent that it is able to realise investment projects abroad. “In future, one of the major components of the growth of the Hungarian economy will be that the Hungarian economy gains access to more growth resources thanks to the foreign investments of Hungarian enterprises”, Mr. Szijjártó pointed out. “This is one of the reasons why the Hungarian Government is funding foreign investments on the part of Hungarian enterprises”, he added.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade pointed out that the Hungarian Government has adopted a strategy, the first stage of which involves the setting up of a 10 billion forint (EUR 30.8 million) fund for Hungarian enterprises investing in Serbia. “Today, the development of the economy is built on everyday innovation”, Mr. Szijjártó underlined. “And KITE Cls. has continuously taken major steps in the interests of using the most modern technology”, he added, calling the company Hungary’s largest and most successful integrated agriculture enterprise.

According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the inauguration of feed producer Gebi Ltd.’s new facility in Topolya is a Carpathian Basin success story that indicates the strength of the new Central Europe, which has become an engine of growth, and which finally regards national communities as resources, not sources of conflict. “The motherland has gained strength in recent years, and is now part of the solution, not part of the problem in the European Union. This has enabled the provision of a greater level of support than ever before for cross-border Hungarian communities, and Hungary is now able to assure that cross-border Hungarians are able to achieve success in the land of their birth”, the Minister said. “In 2016, we first launched an economic development programme in the Carpathian Basin, which has since become a model for several similar programmes”, Mr. Szijjártó pointed out.

“The past three years of the Vojvodina Economic Development Programme have been a true success story”, he said. Between 2016 and 2019, a total of 38.3 billion forints (EUR 118 million) in funding was provided for 10,426 tender applications, which resulted in the realisation of a total of 75.6 billion forints (EUR 233 million) in investment in Vojvodina. “The Serbian Government deserves our appreciation for recognising from the very beginning that these investments reinforce Serbia at least as much as they do Hungary”, the Minister said. “The excellent relations between the two countries is also evident in other areas of the economy: a new trade record was set in 2018, with bilateral trade flow exceeding 1.6 billion euros last year, and a further increase of 9 percent was recorded during the first two months of 2019”, he added.

According to Mr. Szijjártó, Budapest and Belgrade both regard the Hungarian minority living in Serbia as a link that connects them. “The leaders of both Serbia and Hungary have recognised that we are capable of more together than separately”, the politician said.

Budapest initially earmarked a budget of 50 billion forints (EUR 154 million) for the joint Vojvodina Economic Development Programme of the Hungarian Government and the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, but this budget was later increased. The Programme for the 2016-2018 period placed the greatest emphasis on agriculture, tourism, and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, and the goal was to stop the emigration of young people to foreign countries and reverse the process.