Szijjártó: Europeʼs competitiveness depends on Russia

Int’l Relations

Developing Europeʼs competitiveness is “hard to imagine” without pragmatically restructuring cooperation between the European Union and Russia, a collaboration that should be based on mutual respect and with respect to international laws, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said today.

Russiaʼs Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Hungaryʼs minister of foreign affairs and trade arrive at the press conference after their talks. (Photo: MTI/Tamás Kovács)

Following talks with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Szijjártó said that to improve the European economy and its competitiveness, Russia’s natural resources must be paired with Europeʼs high-tech solutions, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

Szijjártó stressed that it would be mutually beneficial for the two countries to slow the decrease or stoppage of bilateral commercial traffic and work towards its increase. He noted that bilateral trade between the countries dropped by 47% last year, and by 25% this year so far. Lavrov supported Szijjártó’s proposals regarding bilateral trade.

Szijjártó said that in order to improve economic ties with Russia, Hungary aims to increase regional cooperation and provide incentives for investments by Hungarian companies, MTI reported. Szijjártó mentioned four regional agreements and a number of investments in Russia by Hungarian-owned companies, MTI added.

Lavrov said Russia considers the upgrade of Hungary’s sole nuclear plant in Paks a long-term, strategic investment, which contributes to the energy-security of Hungary, as well as the improvement of the country’s economy.

In response to questions at the end of the conference Szijjártó said that “nobody should be worried about” Lavrovʼs visit to Budapest, especially not Hungaryʼs allies, just as Hungary is not concerned when other European countries negotiate with Russia.

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