KISKUNHALAS, Hungary — Hungary will become a logistics center in the region after the modernization of Budapest-Belgrade railway, Hungary”s Minister for Innovation and Technology Laszlo Palkovics said here on Friday during the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Hungarian Section of the modernization of Budapest-Belgrade railway.
The ceremony was attended by Palkovics, Serbia’s Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Tomislav Momirovic and Chinese Ambassador to Hungary Qi Dayu. Ning Jizhe, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, attended the ceremony via video link.
“Railways will clearly be in the focus of Hungary’s transport development efforts in the next 10-15 years, with the upgrade and capacity expansion of the Budapest-Belgrade line as one of the priority investments,” Palkovics said.
With the renovation of the Budapest-Belgrade railway, Hungary will offer the fastest transport route for Chinese goods between Greek ports and Western Europe, becoming a logistics center in the region, according to the Hungarian minister.
For his part, Ning said that the railway project will promote the connectivity between Hungary and Serbia and other European countries, help the two countries build a regional transport and logistics hub, give a strong boost to European infrastructure and economic growth along the route, and enhance the well-being of the European people.
The project is also of great significance for the connection of the “Belt and Road” initiative to European development strategies and the deepening of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Europe, Ning added.
“It could be said that the railway is beneficial to our three countries, to Central and Eastern European countries, and to the entire Europe,” he said.
The project for the modernization of the Budapest-Belgrade railway was initially agreed on in 2013 at the China-Central and Eastern European countries leaders’ meeting in Bucharest. The railway has a total length of 350 km.
The many different trade and aid policies being pursued by China globally have been heavily criticised but can developing countries become more independent or will China’s policy reform?