An agreement was reached by Chinese, Hungarian and Serbian prime ministers on the Budapest - Belgrade railway line modernization

Monday, November 25, 2013

China, Hungary and Serbia have agreed to jointly build a Budapest- Belgrade railway line; the agreement among the three countries has been announced at a joint press conference in the Romanian capital during the China - Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) summit by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán and Serbian PM Ivica Dacic.

PM Viktor Orbán pointed out that there were two things we can say for sure about the post-crisis world: China will be a very strong economic power, and Central Europe will be the engine of economic growth in Europe. Central-Europe needs infrastructural investments to exploit the economic potential of the region, but in the current situation in the Eurozone can't finance the growth.

According to the Hungarian prime minister, China's decision to finance projects in the region that the European Union is unable to support has historical significance. Viktor Orbán publicly thanked China for the unprecedentedly large -scale investments in Hungary, which are also helping the European Union, because it increases its competitiveness worldwide.

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang said China's participation in the Central European railway modernization program was a landmark development in the decades old cooperation between China and Central and Eastern Europe. He pointed out that China's railway network is the second largest in the world and in terms of high-speed train developments China is the world leader: China can utilize this experience in the Central and Eastern European region. He added that the three countries will establish a working group to speed up negotiations and transportation of goods and services between Serbia and Hungary.

Serbian PM Ivica Dacic called the railway modernization agreement historic, which has a huge significance in promoting trade and economic relations between Serbia and its economic partners. The Serbian prime minister hinted that other countries in the region might join the railway development project.

China offered to set up a ten billion dollar infrastructure development fund at last year's summit in Warsaw, Poland to help the development of Central and Eastern European region.

The CEO of MAV (Hungarian Raiways) and the CEO of the Serbian Railways signed a memorandum of understanding in May agreeing that they build a high-speed railway link between the Hungarian and the Serbian capitals, which would reduce journey times from the current seven to below three hours.

PM Viktor Orbán held bilateral talks with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang during the China-CEE summit in the Romanian capital today. The President of the Bank of Hungary György Matolcsy and the Prime Minister's State Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Economic Relations Peter Szijjártó who is also responsible for Hungarian-Chinese relations are also members of the Hungarian delegation.

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