Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest on Thursday on the last stop of his European trip. A “comprehensive strategic partnership” has been agreed between the two countries, both politicians said in a joint statement broadcast by Hungarian state television.

Orban said that both countries have always been on friendly terms. Chinese companies are now securing tens of thousands of jobs in Hungary. The country wants to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise from high-quality Chinese investments in the field of e-mobility and from Chinese technology transfer.

Xi spoke out in favor of further expanding relations. “We both believe that the traditional friendship between our countries stands on solid foundations,” he said. The Chinese President also visited Budapest to mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Hungary and China.

No concrete information

On the sidelines of the visit, the delegations signed numerous intergovernmental agreements. Hungarian state television, which was the only one allowed to attend the ceremony on the Hungarian side, did not provide any specific information. The outlines of the agreed “comprehensive strategic partnership” also remained rather vague. Orban simply mentioned that both countries also want to work together in the nuclear industry in the future. “That hasn’t happened before,” he said. However, he did not elaborate further.

Hungary was the last stop on Xi Jinping’s European trip, which previously took him to France and Serbia. He wanted to leave Budapest on Friday. Hungary is the only EU country to take part in China’s controversial New Silk Road infrastructure and investment initiative. The Hungarian government is considered China-friendly – with friendly relations with Beijing, Orban wants to create a counterweight to the situation in the EU, where he is often isolated.

China is building a 350-kilometer-long railway line between Budapest and Belgrade, which is being financed with Chinese loans. In Hungary, it is building large factories to produce electric vehicles and the batteries that go with them. In Debrecen, eastern Hungary, a battery factory under construction by the Chinese manufacturer CATL is expected to employ 9,000 people in the future. However, the giga project sparked protests from environmentalists and led to legal disputes.