mandag 13. mai 2024

China’s European bridgehead. Hungary’s dangerous relationship with Beijing

As the European Union tightens its stance towards China while the latter continues its expansion in the e-mobility sector, Chinese-Hungarian relations have gained new momentum. After a decade of difficulties in implementing joint infrastructural projects, new investments by Chinese giants such as CATL and BYD are set to turn Hungary into a manufacturing hub for Chinese electric vehicles in Europe and one of the world’s leading producers of lithium-ion batteries. Hungary is also ready to deepen its economic relations with China despite the de-risking policy that the European Commission has advocated.

Hungary’s political and economic openness has allowed China to partially mitigate the negative effects of its rivalry with the EU. Hungary is a key manufacturing and logistics base for Chinese technology companies such as Huawei, while Chinese automotive companies have located their manufacturing operations in the country; this move may allow them to avoid tariffs on cars imported from China should the European Commission decide to impose them. In addition, Hungary is the only EU country that has openly supported China’s interests in the EU arena and continued its active involvement in both the Belt & Road Initiative and the Central European ‘14+1’ format.