The October guest at the European Atlantic Group was H E Ferenc Kumin, the Hungarian Ambassador to London, who spoke to the meeting under the Chatham House Rule and was very open and frank.
He explained the practical problems Hungary currently faced because of its geopolitical position and the fact that 85% of its gas came from Russia. Many Hungarians live in Ukraine and are among the dead and Hungary had accepted over a million refugees. The politics of the region is not as simple as outsiders believe, it is actually very complicated and someone inside may be better placed than an arm’s length mediator.
The Ambassador spoke of Hungary’s key role as a manufacturing hub and the contribution it made particularly to the motor industry and cited the Chinese lithium plant. Questioned by David on the recent polarised survey of Chinese involvement in Hungary and the suggestion that China was using Hungary as a Trojan Horse into the EU, the Ambassador said instead of complaining about Chinese activity people should suggest ways to manage it.