Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Isolated, Hungary calls for open competition with Chinese electric cars

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“We call on the European Commission to deliver a roadmap for [the 2035 ICE target]. To anchor it for countries, companies and consumers,” he said. 

Hungary is to reveal a list of 11 ideas to boost the EU’s electric vehicle market on Wednesday, but it will cost a lot — at least €85 billion, according to proposals seen by POLITICO.

In a sign of Hungary’s isolation as a contrarian member of the bloc, Nagy was unable to address this call directly to a European commissioner. Thierry Breton, who oversees the EU’s single market, also skipped Budapest, sending his top civil servant Kerstin Jorna instead. She didn’t join the press conference.

“This must be the Hungary effect,” one national EU official told POLITICO, granted anonymity to discuss their impressions from inside the room. “And Orbán’s trips [in the past week to Kyiv, Moscow and Beijing] of course don’t help. The Commission doesn’t want to lend itself for this.”

The first informal meeting during the six-month presidency was meant to flesh out the idea of building a European ecosystem for electric vehicles. Hungary is China’s main bridgehead for investing in e-mobility in Europe, though other countries are also courting the global leader in battery tech.

Underwhelming turnout

The Hungarian hosts put a brave face on the modest ministerial attendance — and the no-show by Breton.

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