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Hungary's central bank eyes opportunities in China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-05-23 09:04

BUDAPEST - The Hungarian National Bank (MNB, central bank) is looking for opportunities and possibilities for cooperation in the framework of China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, MNB general manager Daniel Palotai said here Monday.

The cooperation of China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) was at the heart of a forum organized by the European Institute for the Belt and Road Initiative Economic and Cultural Cooperation and Development and by the Pallas Athene Geopolitical Foundation (PAGEO).

"In order to promote the further use of the Chinese currency renminbi, the Chinese central bank has made several swap agreements with foreign central banks, including the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and MNB," Palotai explained.

"The professional cooperation with China has become a very important issue for Europe, that is why 16 CEE countries, including Hungary, are trying to tighten their economic and cultural relations with China," he added.

Besides bilateral trade agreements, the CEE countries are also interested in widening the cooperation with China on the financial front, according to Daniel Palotai.

He also spoke in favor of using the Chinese currency in more and more direct disbursements, and also as a reserve currency.

Wang Yiwei, director of Center for European Studies at Renmin University of China, draw a bold vision for the future: "The Belt and Road Initiative will create a new, 3-billion-people strong new middle class by 2050."

Gergely Salat, head of the Chinese faculty of the Pazmany Peter Catholic University, spoke of cultural issues.

He explained that economic figures were not enough to create a bond between the people of China and those of the CEE region.

Salat spoke of the necessity to use "soft power" that originated between the cooperation of private individuals such as artists or sportsmen. He added that the official events and the involvement of the governments were also necessary.

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