Thank you, Minister, and good afternoon to all of you.
I am very happy to share the stage with two actors so instrumental to the success of our battery story in Hungary (Palkovics) and in the European Union (Pavia).
Hungary was among our battery pioneers and in record time has become a true champion - it now ranks among the ten leading exporters of batteries worldwide, and is the number one manufacturer of battery cells in Europe.
Today's signature of the Memorandum of Understanding will only strengthen the position of the battery industry in Hungary but also across Europe.
This is our third landmark signature of its kind, following those with Spain and France - and I hope many more will follow.
People lie at the very heart of our transition to a green economy. Investing in skills requires - and deserves - our laser beam focus. That is why the European Battery Alliance has established a European Battery Academy, set to help train some 800-thousand people needed by the industry by 2025.
Hungary's commitment to succeed in this rapidly growing sector is clear. The introduction of a national battery strategy and a national battery alliance, a strong industrial base ready to engage along the entire value chain, the foreign investment pouring in - this is the right blend of ingredients, which is already paying off.
After having talked to industrial actors and the government, I see both the appetite and the potential to expand and accomplish even more. Therefore, I encourage stronger engagement with the European Battery Alliance as well as the European Raw Materials Alliance.
This is especially important in the area of research and innovation in order to boost domestic expertise, and in the field of critical raw materials and battery materials to boost their autonomous and sustainable supply.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
When we established the European Battery Alliance in 2017, few believed in its success. Hungary is one of the examples proving that we were right to strive for strategic autonomy in this key sector.
Overall, we see some 70 major industrial projects across Europe promoted by the Alliance and record-high levels of investment, amounting to 60 billion euros in 2019 alone, outpacing China and the United States.
Europe is on track to become the second largest battery producer in the world by 2025, making enough batteries to meet the needs of our automotive sector.
I am truly glad that Central Europe is a vibrant part of this boom.
Therefore, once again, congratulations on today's signature of this Memorandum of Understanding, dear Minister - and I am looking forward to our intensified cooperation under the European Battery Alliance.