As expected, Brexit has triggered some positive changes in India’s trade ties with Europe. As Britain has decided to leave the European Union (EU), many member countries of the bloc are trying to strengthen business ties with India in an attempt to boost their economy.
During his recent visit to New Delhi, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto said that Budapest was ready to offer “special” incentives to Indian companies, which might leave the UK in the coming days. The visiting minister also said the EU is unlikely to subsidise UK-based international companies for long in the wake of the Brexit referendum. So, according to Szijjarto, it will be better for the Indian firms to leave Britain as early as possible.
Szijjarto told the Indian media that Hungary, despite being a member of the European bloc, is not comfortable with the EU’s “ivory tower” policy makers. As a result, the landlocked Central European country is looking for new partners, like India. “We are willing to offer any kind of incentives, assistance or subsidies in case any Indian companies take sovereign decision to leave the UK and come to invest in Hungary,” he stressed.
Szijjarto welcomed some Indian companies’ decision to explore business opportunities in Hungary, saying that his country is a perfect location for investment. “We have an excellent skilled labour force which is needed for high-tech companies. Our tax system favours those companies, which employ more people. We have given tax benefits to investors. We have already incentivised Indian companies who invested in Hungary and will do so in future,” added the minister.
Szijjarto, the first Foreign Minister of an EU member-country to visit India after the Brexit referendum, admitted that Brussels has failed to overcome bureaucratic dominance, saying: “The EU’s decision is often biased in favour of the dominant members.” At the same time, he assured the top Indian political leadership that Budapest was in favour of faster reform of the EU. “Hungary believes that a strong EU is possible only when members become strong. Hungary will do everything to strengthen its economic ties with India and to restart the EU-India trade talks,” he further said.
Meanwhile, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj thanked Hungary for supporting India’s candidature at the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). During their meeting in the Indian capital last week, Swaraj told Szijjarto that New Delhi was worried about Hungary, which is one of the major countries badly affected by the Brexit referendum. She said India was well aware of the fact that nearly 10 million Hungarian workers, facing an uncertain future in the UK, might return home to find new jobs. Swaraj promised her guest that India would try to help Hungary meet the challenge of Brexit by strengthening bilateral trade ties.
Hungary plans to boost co-operation with India in 2016 as the year marks the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian uprising of 1956, when India’s diplomatic intervention saved many Hungarian lives. “We will recognise those Indians who supported anti-communist uprising in Hungary,” Szijjarto told Swaraj.