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Gov't seeks "single package" deal with Russia

The Hungarian government wants to reach an agreement with Russian leaders on questions of bilateral cooperation in a single package, National Development Minister Tamás Fellegi said at a press conference on Friday.

The package, on which talks are ongoing, includes the issues of energy policy, The package, on which talks are ongoing, includes the issues of energy policy,  , Russia's participation in later construction of Budapest's underground, cooperation in the farm sector, scholarships for researchers and the extension of broad-gauge railway.

If talks progress well, they could be closed at a meeting of the two countries' prime ministers in November, Fellegi said.

Fellegi again denied that the government was in talks with Russia's Surgutneftegas on buying its stake in Hungarian oil and gas company MOL. He said the government's position on the matter was unchanged: it does not want to see a big stake in a Hungarian company of strategic importance in foreign hands. It would be advantageous for MOL and make the market more predictable if the state were to acquire a stake in the company, he said. If the government take such a decision, financing would have to come from the market, he added.

Fellegi said "serious, forward-moving" talks were underway with a strategic investor on Hungarian airline Malév. The investor has the strategic means and the necessary assets to make developments at Malév, he added. The government wants to reach a speedy and decisive solution for the national carrier, which could break even in the mid-term, he said.

Russia's state-owned Vnesheconombank holds a 5% stake in Malév's parent company.

Fellegi confirmed that his ministry would soon oversee the entire energy sector in Hungary. A political decision has been taken to make János Bencsik, currently at the National Economy Ministry, state secretary in charge of energy and climate affairs, he added., Russia's participation in later construction of Budapest's underground, cooperation in the farm sector, scholarships for researchers and the extension of broad-gauge railway. (MTI-Econews)