Hungary’s embrace of China’s Belt and Road Initiative is bearing fruit, with a large state-owned contractor signalling an intention to set up headquarters there and invest up to €1bn.
The contractor is railway and power plant builder China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC).
Its chairman Ruan Guang and Hungary’s minister for innovation and technology, Laszlo Palkovics, signed the agreement in Beijing yesterday.Â Â
Palkovics and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán are in Beijing for the Belt and Road forum, attended by leaders from more than 30 countries.
This week Orban said that initiative, a huge plan to build transport and economic links facilitating trade between China and the rest of the world, is "in full accordance" with the national interests of Hungary.Â
Ruan and Palkovics said in a statement that CMC is already building a $110m solar park in Kaposvar, about 186km southwest of Budapest, which will be the largest in Central Europe.
The minister also met with Lu Yimin, president of China General Technology Group, the state-owned parent of CMC, to discuss areas of cooperation in future as well as the details of the investment in Kaposvar.
Meanwhile, the Hungarian government announced on Wednesday, 24 April, that it is to spend €11bn its road network over the next five years. The aim is ensure that all Hungarian roads are within a 30-minute drive from a dual carriageway.
Palkovics said in December that the government also wanted to ensure that all county capitals were accessible by motorway, and that all motorways reached the national border. The minister was speaking in the town of Berettyoujfalu at the inauguration of the final stretch of the M35 motorway and the first stretch of the M4.
One high priority project is the building of a motorway to Debrecen’s northwestern economic area, the future home of a BMW plant, for which the government has given a grant of $450m.
As well as roads, Hungary intends to spend $346m on upgrades to its power network, $250m on improvement to rail.
Image: A highway viaduct in Hungary (Dreamstime)