Szijjártó: Budapest Belgrade Rail Line Has Huge Economic Importance

  • 7 Dec 2015 8:00 AM
Szijjártó: Budapest Belgrade Rail Line Has Huge Economic Importance
The revamp of the Budapest-Belgrade rail line and the fact that it will reduce journey times between the two cities will have huge economic importance, since the line will be the primary trade route for Chinese goods between Greece’s ports and Western Europe, Hungary’s foreign minister told Serbian daily Politika. Szijjártó said the investment project, financed in large part by China, is unique in the sense that it involves China, a European Union member state and a non-EU member state.

The minister noted that when work on the line is complete, trains will be able to roll on the upgraded tracks at a speed up to 160kmh.

Szijjártó said EU criticism of Hungary’s partnership with China was hypocritical because the total trade turnover between China and its 16 central and eastern European partner countries is still less than China’s trading volume with Italy and significantly less than its trade turnover with Germany or France.

The minister said when taking into account China- US trade figures, criticism of Hungary trading with China seems ridiculous. The minister said Russia is a significant trading partner for Hungary because Hungary’s gas supply is dependent on Russia.

He said that although Hungary can feel the negative effects of the EU sanctions against Russia, it will continue to observe the EU’s decision. On the subject of the international migrant crisis, Szijjártó said Hungary rejects migrant quotas because it considers the scheme “pointless”.

The minister said that by the time the EU began debating the relocation of 120,000 migrants, there were already far more migrants inside the EU, adding that nobody was able to explain why talks were focused on relocating 120,000 people. Szijjártó said another question that nobody had been able to answer was how the EU would keep migrants who are relocated to Bulgaria, Hungary or Greece, in those countries if those migrants had already made it clear that they want to live in Germany.

The quota system is irrational, Szijjártó insisted. On the topic of Hungary’s fence on its border with Serbia, Szijjártó said the fence’s critics are applying double standards to Hungary because they had asked Hungary to observe the EU’s laws and then criticised it when it acted in accordance with those laws.

Szijjártó said Hungary’s border fence was not the best way of handling the migrant crisis, arguing that the best solution would be to protect Greece’s borders, which is the external border of the Schengen zone.

“We are not happy to have built a fence on our borders with Serbia and Croatia,” he said. “Nobody likes building walls between countries, certainly not between friendly countries.”

Source - Visit Hungary Matters to sign-up for MTI’s twice-daily newsletter.

MTI photo: Burger Zsolt

  • How does this content make you feel?