Economy and Transport Minister János Kóka met his French counterpart Thierry Breton in Paris on Friday to assess the first Hungarian-French economic year, organized in 2005, and to discuss current energy issues.Kóka, starting a two-day visit to France, told Breton that the economic year involving meetings with over 2,000 businesses had been successful and had resulted in two dozen French businesses setting up in Hungary. He added that the Hungarian government has allotted Ft 1.5 billion this year to support suppliers and exporters, and that it will only support foreign firms that are willing to engage local labor and SMEs. Kóka encouraged the heads of some 30 French businesses present to bring developments and boost jobs in Hungary. Breton told Kóka that Hungary's economic achievements are wholly acknowledged by France, signaled by an invitation for Hungary to be guest of honor at the La Baule World Investor Conference in June 2006.
The ministers discussed developments concerning Europe's energy issue following the recent Russian gas crisis, and identified mutual interests in developing alternative gas pipelines and storage in Hungary, thereby reducing dependency on Russian supplies. Kóka will join in the energy discussion that is to be on the agenda a meeting of Hungarian President László Sólyom and French President Jacques Chirac in Paris later on Friday.