By: V4 Agency
Speaking at the ninth China-CEEC Summit, PM Viktor Orban talked about the global competition for the coronavirus jab, the constructive cooperation between East and West, free world trade, Sino-Hungarian economic relations and the use of Chinese vaccines in Hungary, his press chief told Hungary’s state news agency (MTI). The summit was held online, as part of a videoconference.
According to the Hungarian premier’s press chief, Viktor Orban expressed his appreciation to President Xi Jinping for convening the meeting despite the extraordinary circumstances. Hungary’s prime minister recalled that the pandemic began a year ago and the ensuing crisis has changed everything. It tore people out of their comfort zones, ushered in a whole new era of world economy and global politics, and presented states with a twofold challenge: to protect the lives, as well as the workplaces of their citizens.
“Although a whole year has passed, we are now in exactly the same situation where we were last spring: the whole world wants to buy a product whose supply falls far short of its demand. A year ago it was about masks and ventilators, now it is about vaccines,” Viktor Orban said. The premier underlined that the solution to the current health crisis was mass vaccination.
PM Orban also spoke about the importance of an East-West cooperation, one that is more constructive than ever and is based on mutual respect and goodwill, because “the lives of our citizens and the recovery of our economies are at stake.” The conclusion of negotiations on the China-EU agreement on mutual protection of investment projects was a good step in that direction, he added.
Viktor Orban said Hungary was grateful to the People’s Republic of China and personally to President Xi for all the help it received in this challenging period. He recalled that an air bridge was successfully established last year, making it possible to transport tens of millions of medical instruments from China to Hungary. Having seized investment opportunities provided by Hungary’s economy protection action plan, Chinese companies brought significant projects to Hungary, with China becoming the number one investor in Hungary in 2020.
We, Hungarians, support free and global trade, which is more important today than ever, Viktor Orban stressed, adding that the fewer barriers we have in economic and trade cooperation, the faster our economies will recover. The prime minister congratulated on the establishment of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the biggest free trade zone in world history, and expressed hope that negotiations between RCEP and the European Union on future cooperation would begin soon. The 17 + 1 format can serve as a strong driving force to achieve this goal, he added.
At the summit, Mr Orban expressed his appreciation to the Chinese scientific community for developing a Covid vaccine. He thanked China for enabling Hungarian experts to visit production sites and consult with their Chinese colleagues. “I have received really reassuring reports from our delegation whose experience served as a basis for our national regulatory authority to issue a licence for emergency use. We highly appreciate the constructive attitude of the Chinese authorities, which enabled us to sign the vaccine procurement contract,” the Hungarian premier said, adding that he expected the first shipment to arrive as early as next week.
In conclusion, PM Orban stressed that the pandemic did not prevent Hungary from fulfilling its commitments under the 17 + 1 framework, pointing out that plans for modernising the rail link were in progress, just like preparations for establishing a campus for Fudan International University in Budapest.