Hungary will continue to maintain its cooperation with Russia in areas not limited by EU sanctions, as this is in the national interest, especially with regard to energy security, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, emphasized after meeting with Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko.
At a joint press conference, Péter Szijjártó said that the Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health currently taking place in Hungary provided an opportunity to review the most important issues of cooperation between the two countries.
He stressed that Russian partners can continue to be relied on for gas and oil supplies, without which Hungary’s energy supply would become physically impossible. He pointed out that almost 2.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas have already been received from Russian energy company Gazprom this year under the long-term contract, and that this is partly the reason why Hungary has already been able to store 42 percent of its annual consumption, compared to an average of only 23 percent in Europe. Likewise, oil supplies are also uninterrupted, with 2.2 million tons arriving via the Friendship pipeline this year, he said.
I would like to make it clear that it is in Hungary’s interest to maintain the Hungarian-Russian energy cooperation that has been going on for decades,”
he stressed, adding that they are also working on diversification and attracting new sources.
The Foreign Minister underlined that the government supports the continued operation of Hungarian companies in Russia in areas not affected by the sanctions, such as the banking sector, the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, agriculture and food, and construction. “Exactly the same way as our Western competitors do,” he underlined.
According to an article by Investment Monitor, in 2022, international companies generated $214 billion in revenue in Russia from their operations there, with $14.1 billion in profits and $3.1 billion in profit taxes. On a country basis, US companies collected the largest total revenues in Russia, and paid the most in taxes, with the latter amounting to $712 million in 2022. This is followed by Germany, whose companies paid $402m in profit tax to Russia in 2022.
Regarding the health sector, Szijjártó announced that important cooperation in oncology was under discussion. He also recalled that a record 698 students from Russia applied this year for scholarships for higher education in Hungary.
Finally, the Foreign Minister thanked the Russian side for the fact that during Covid, one million Hungarian lives were saved with Sputnik vaccines.
Speaking at the press conference, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that there was close economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries. He stressed that in 2022, trade relations reached record levels in areas not affected by sanctions.
He highlighted that energy cooperation and Rosatom’s participation in the Hungarian nuclear plant Paks II project were among the areas of priority support in 2023. He stressed that
Russia will do its utmost to implement the Paks II project efficiently and on time.
The Russian Minister also said that the Russian side contributes to the development and success of the Hungarian economy through oil and gas supplies, and added that cooperation between the two countries is also significant in the fields of health and agriculture. Regarding health cooperation, he said that Hungarian pharmaceutical companies are reliable partners who continue to do their job and provide stable supplies of medicines to the Russians.
Finally, Mikhail Murashko said that the e-sport event Games of the Future will be held in Kazan in 2024, where Hungarian athletes are welcome to participate.
Featured photo via Facebook/Péter Szijjártó