Hungary’s Government has hinted at Chinese investment in its rail sector, following President Xi Jinping’s visit to Europe and Hungary’s President Viktor Orban. 

The government announced new “working groups” building up to beginning construction on two new rail lines in or close to the country’s capital. 

The first is a new connection between the city centre and the Ferenc Liszt International Airport to the East of the city. The second is the V0 Budapest line, which is intended to connect the East and West of the country, but bypassing the capital to ease congestion. 

The airport line project is yet to confirm how it will operate, but the two ideas are for a direct airport-city line, or for a loop to be built off the main line that would allow major intercity services to stop at the airport terminal. 

Despite increasing tensions spurring from increasingly heated rhetoric in both China and across the “West”, Hungary has remained a firm ally of China and President Xi in recent years. 

The relationship between Xi and his Hungarian counterpart Orban is said to be a crucial link between Europe and China, and it was not a surprise that the Chinese leader’s recent visit to Europe saw Xi in Hungary along with only Serbia and France. 

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Although details aren’t clear, Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said the airport connection and rail system upgrades were part of agreements made during the state visit. 

Hungary remains the only EU member state that has continued to actively participate in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). 

The largest of the capital projects undertaken with Chinese funding as part of the BRI is the Budapest to Belgrade railway, connecting two of China’s key allies in Europe. 

CCRC Zhuzhou Locomotive, part of the state-owned CCRC has also said it will build four rolling stock factories in Hungary in the coming years.