The Hungarian oil industry in Kazakhstan is a flagship for developing Hungarian-Kazakh relations, PM Viktor Orbán said after talks with counterpart Karim Massimov. On a three-day visit to Astana, Orbán told a joint press conference with Massimov that they had decided to sign an aviation agreement with a view to launching direct flights between the two countries. Moreover, Hungary and Kazakhstan aim to relax visa regulations between the two countries, he said.
In the course of the day, Orbán signed a memorandum of understanding on setting up a Hungarian-Kazakh strategic council; Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó signed a preliminary agreement on the launch of a joint fund by KazAgro Holding and Eximbank; Justice Minister László Trócsányi signed a criminal legal-aid agreement; and Economy Minister Mihály Varga signed a cooperation agreement with his Kazakh counterpart on bilateral vocational training.
PM Viktor Orbán said at the press conference that his government has decided that Hungary would join the Asian Development Bank, therefore he accepted an invitation to an economic forum to be held in May. He also pointed out that Hungarian-Kazakh political relations are currently much stronger than their economic relations; this is a major problem, since everyone believes that there is a bright future ahead of Kazakhstan, and that Central Europe will be the engine of European growth in the coming years. Consequently, close economic cooperation is needed between the two countries, he said.
Karim Massimov said talks with Orbán went well beyond the usual level of political dialogue and this had been true too of a meeting with President Nursultan Nazarbayev earlier in the day. Karim Massimov said he believes that his country has much to offer Hungarian businesses, and there are already a number of fields in which Hungary and Kazakhstan are cooperating. He underlined that Hungarian companies are most welcome in every industry, adding that Kazakhstan is very well located in the region, and that the country has friendly and constructive relations with its two large neighbours: China and Russia.
According to Kazakh news agency inform.kz, the Hungarian Prime Minister feels at home in Kazakhstan as opposed to the EU, since he has told the following after the talks in Astana: “We are always glad to come to Kazakhstan. We are equal in political terms in the European Union, but genealogically we are different. When we go to Brussels we do not have any relatives there. But when we come to Kazakhstan we have close people here. It is a strange feeling for us but it is true. Therefore, Hungarian delegations always come to Kazakhstan with pleasure.” According to Hungarian news portal index.hu, Viktor Orbán added that “it is a rather strange feeling that one must travel to the East to feel at home.”
via hungarymatters.hu, kormany.hu, inform.kz and index.hu photo: Miklós Kobza – kormany.hu / MTI