Hungary, Albania Sign Agreements on EU Integration, Water Industry

Int’l Relations

Viktor Orbán met with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama during his visit.

Phot by MTI/Prime Minister's Press Office/Zoltán Fischer

Hungary and Albania signed cooperation agreements on European integration and the water industry during an official visit to the country by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and a delegation of his ministers on Friday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

After a meeting with his Albanian counterpart, Olta Xhacka, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said the process of Albania's European Union accession was moving forward at "an unacceptably slow" pace. Under the agreement on European integration, Hungary will send two experts to Albania to help accelerate the process, he added.

"Our expectations of Brussels are very clear: the first chapters of [accession] negotiations with Albania must be opened by year-end," he said.

Szijjártó acknowledged that a number of member states want Ukraine to join the EU in an accelerated procedure, but said all candidate countries should have the same conditions for accession. "There should be no shortcuts, no fast lanes," he added.

Under the water industry cooperation agreement, Budapest Fővárosi Vízművek waterworks will establish a system to run Tirana's waterworks, Szijjarto said. An agreement was also reached on the construction of a HUF 5 billion solar park in Albania by Hungary's Gemtech with HUF 2.5 bln in support from the Hungarian government, he added.

Hungary's 4iG controls 57% of Albania's telecommunications market, while OTP Bank is the country's third-biggest lender and low-fare carrier Wizz Air has a 51% share of the passenger air travel market, Szijjártó noted.

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