Hungary calls for economic cooperation between the EU and Belarus
"Zhis is something Hungary could also profit from”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in Budapest following a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart.
At the press conference following the meeting, Szijjártó stressed that Hungary has always been at the forefront of efforts to have the EU lift sanctions against Belarus and welcomes the fact that the vast majority of sanctions have indeed been successfully revoked.
Cooperation could lead to mutual benefits because Belarus is, for instance, also playing a constructive role in solving the crisis in Ukraine, he said.
The Minister emphasised that in the interests of Europe retaining its position in the global competition between regional economic integrations it would be a logical step to maintain the possibility of rational cooperation between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union, but this is something from which the European Union is becoming increasingly distanced.
Belarus could play a bridging role in this issue, because it is Russia’s most important economic partner and is also open to developing relations with the EU, he pointed out.
Mr. Szijjártó also spoke about the fact that Hungary and Belarus would be working together more closely on energy in future, because the latter is an important transit country with regard to Europe’s energy supply. Nuclear industry cooperation could also be launched, he added.
The Minister pointed out that there had been a 20 percent fall in bilateral trade flow last year and in the interests of reversing this trend a foreign trade diplomat had been deployed to Minsk.
The Hungarian Eximbank is opening a %27 million credit line to facilitate cooperation between Hungarian and Belarusian enterprises, in addition to which the parties would also be signing an investment protection agreement. ■