Szijjártó meets Central 5 counterparts

Visits

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó (second from right) speaks as foreign ministers Tanja Fajon of Slovenia (first from right), Alexander Schallenberg of Austria (second from left) and Ivan Korcok of Slovakia (first from left) hold a press conference during a meeting of the five Central European foreign ministers at the Puskás Arena in Budapest, Hungary, on July 13, 2022.

Photo by MTI/Noémi Bruzák

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó hosted his counterparts from Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia at a Central 5 meeting in Budapest this week, according to origo.hu.

At a joint press conference after the meeting, Szijjártó said economic ties between the C5 countries could be strengthened further.

Addressing the energy issue, he said Hungary's gas storage facilities are 44% full. The volume of gas in storage is enough to meet 25.5% of Hungary's annual consumption, over the 16.7% rate for gas storage facilities in Europe as a whole, he added.

Szijjártó said Hungary had started talks on buying gas in addition to the volume it is getting from long-term delivery contracts, adding that 700 million cubic meters could be purchased ahead of the start of the heating season. He said a project to build two more blocks at the Paks nuclear power plant is being "accelerated further" with the aim of "laying the first concrete by next year."

Alexander Schallenberg, Austria's foreign minister, warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin would use famine to continue the war and pointed to the importance of European Union support for the Sahel region in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian savanna to the south.

He also acknowledged the geostrategic importance of the Western Balkans and said Bosnia and Herzegovina should be granted EU candidate status "as soon as possible," a move long promoted by Hungary.

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