Hungarian foreign policy has passed the test in the promotion of investment in Hungary, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Thursday at the press conference of the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) held in Budapest.

Mr Szijjártó pointed out: the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency became Central-Europe’s second most successful investment agency last year, having concluded successful talks regarding the implementation of 60 investments in Hungary with 32 new companies and 28 businesses already active in the country.

The Minister highlighted: the value of investments reached EUR 1.66 billion, some HUF 508 billion, and this contributed to the remarkable achievement that the working capital inflow to GDP indicator in Hungary is the highest in Central-Europe.

In the first five months of this year, HIPA entered into agreements on 27 projects in Hungary, worth EUR 548.8 million in total. Fourteen of the 27 businesses had not had investments in Hungary before, while 13 companies with existing operations in the country are making investments from their earlier profits. The 27 new projects in the first five months created 5,597 new jobs, 40.2 per cent more than during the corresponding period of last year, Mr Szijjártó said.

The Minister drew attention to the fact that companies in Hungary spent some HUF 5,216 billion on investments last year, which represents a 14 per cent increase compared with 2013.

As regards the trends that characterise foreign investment, the projects of companies from Germany and the United States continue: HIPA has concluded agreements with 6 German and 6 US companies on investments in Hungary this year. As a result, 6,000 German businesses in Hungary provide jobs for more than 300,000 people in total, and German investments are in the magnitude of EUR 20 billion. At the same time, the investments of the 1,750 US businesses present in Hungary have reached USD 9 billion, and they employ some 90,000 people in total.

In the Minister’s opinion this demonstrates that Hungarian-US business cooperation continues to remain a success story, and it is to be hoped that political cooperation between the two countries will also follow suit.

Ties between the Hungarian and German economies remain very strong, mainly in the field of production, and this contributes to the growth of the Hungarian economy, the Minister added.

The automobile industry and the services sector continue to account for the bulk of the investments; the value of production in the automobile industry exceeds 30 per cent of that of the entire processing industry, and there are more than 80 services centres in Hungary, employing some 30,000 people, Mr Szijjártó said.

The Minister also made mention of the assistance provided for small and medium-sized businesses as part of the activities of HIPA. The Hungarian Government entered into 59 strategic agreements with large corporations, 61 per cent of which use the products and services of Hungarian businesses as suppliers, which represents a 4 per cent increase after the signing of the agreements. The 59 strategic partners employ 174,308 persons at present, 13,468 more than before the conclusion of the agreements.

The right location and the availability of qualified work force will be major factors in the development of investments in the future. Therefore, the Government is working together with the local municipalities concerned in close cooperation, and has doubled the funds available for the purposes of research and development which will be used, inter alia, for setting up training workshops and creating industrial higher education centres, Mr Szijjártó stated.

Róbert Ésik, President of HIPA highlighted that they had introduced a single-window system for comprehensive administration. In addition to attracting new investors to Hungary as part of their activities, they also lay emphasis on investors already present in the country, the training programmes of the local SME sector, and financial investors, beyond professional investors, to whom they offer some 30 projects in 6 sectors.

The President of HIPA said that they are currently managing 142 projects before the investment phase; if the talks are closed successfully, based on current data, some 25,283 new jobs would come into being as a result of investments worth EUR 3.23 billion.

Mr Ésik told the press that, according to Site Selection, a magazine concerned with direct foreign capital investment, Hungary is the best investment target in the region.

At the press conference, Róbert Ésik announced that as of the first of July, Mr Szilárd Bolla, who previously held senior positions at the Hewlett-Packard Corporation, will assume the office of Vice-President for Investments at HIPA.

In answer to a question, Mr Szijjártó repeated that 50,340 migrants had been registered in Hungary in the first five months of the year, and based on the current trend, this number may even exceed 100,000 by the end of the year. In this respect, Hungary is compelled to endure the greatest pressure, and the European Union must therefore also deal with the issue of migrants coming from the Western Balkans. Based on the Government’s decision, a proposal will have to be prepared by Wednesday regarding a four-metre-tall security fence to be erected on the Hungarian-Serbian border along a section of 175 kilometres; the costs of the installation of the security fence may be determined thereafter.

Mr Szijjártó stressed that this does not mean the full closure of the border as traffic will be free to flow via the border-crossing stations.

In answer to a question concerning the violation of human dignity, the Minister said: the violation of human dignity must be prevented where it occurred in the first place. In other words, we must prevent families from being forced to leave their homes, and to this end, we need peace and stability.