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“Close Economic Cooperation with Turkey Would Also Pay Off for the EU”

Hungary Today 2023.09.18.
Foreign Minister, Péter Szijjártó during the interview with Bloomberg

The war in Ukraine has blocked and destroyed old supply routes. Therefore, Hungary needs new relations and supply routes, and the Turkic states could be a bridge between East and West, the Hungarian Foreign Minister said in an interview with Bloomberg news agency in Istanbul, reports Magyar Nemzet.

Péter Szijjártó announced that Hungary had signed a new gas contract with Turkey and would purchase 275 million cubic meters of gas from the country early next year.

This is the first time that Hungary will purchase gas directly from Turkey and not through the country.

In addition, one of the world’s largest Turkish infrastructure construction companies will enter into a strategic partnership with Hungary’s largest railroad construction company and will jointly bid for tenders in European third-party markets.

Turkey Ready to Support Gas Supplies
Turkey Ready to Support Gas Supplies

TurkStream is currently the only East-West gas pipeline on the continent operating at full capacity.Continue reading

When asked about the European Union’s stance on the steps Hungary is taking towards Turkic countries and Turkey in particular, the minister described the EU’s behavior as hypocritical.

Any government that goes against the international liberal mainstream is the target of unfair, unfounded, and biased attacks,

he explained. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been repeatedly accused of being undemocratic, as has Hungary, while “any European politician would be happy to win an election with the advantage that President Erdoğan has or that we have in Hungary.”

According to Hungary, close economic cooperation with Turkey would also pay off for the EU, as the European Union is in a very bad economic situation.

The EU’s competitiveness is decreasing and the sanctions would “kill” the EU’s economy. Closer cooperation with Turkey is also needed on the migration issue, he added. “If Turkey does not protect us in the south, we will be under enormous pressure,” he said.

Asked about articles and news reports questioning Hungary’s loyalty to the EU, especially with regard to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, Szijjártó said there are two reasons why “Brussels is usually against Hungary.” First, the country has had a right-wing conservative, patriotic, Christian Democratic government since 2010 that puts the national interest first, while “in Brussels, the international liberal mainstream dominates.” The second reason is that there is a debate about the future of the European Union. There are certain Member States and institutions in Brussels that want to create the “United States of Europe.” The EU would be like a superstate, national characteristics would not matter, and Member States would have to give more power to Brussels.

According to the foreign minister, this is not the right way for Hungary, as the EU can only be strong if the Member States are strong. Hence, nations should hold on to their heritage, religion, history, and peculiarities instead of “giving them up, as the liberal mainstream wants.”

Foreign Minister Szijjártó (Photo: Facebook/Péter Szijjártó)

Regarding the war in Ukraine, the minister stressed that

Hungary wants peace as soon as possible. This position stems from its very specific situation, from the fact that there is a large Hungarian community in Ukraine, whose members are being drafted into the Ukrainian army, and that these Hungarians are dying.

The war must be ended by a ceasefire, peace talks, and peace agreements, the politician emphasized.

Szijjártó added that relations with Russia are very important and essential, as a large part of Hungary’s energy imports come from Russia. Energy supply needs a source and a pipeline. He said that if we cut our energy ties with Russia, “the current infrastructure would not be sufficient to supply the country.”

For example, if we cut the Russian oil pipeline, we would be left with only the pipeline through Croatia, which has much less capacity and would not be able to supply both Hungary and Slovakia.

Cooperation with Russia Continues in Areas Not Limited by Sanctions
Cooperation with Russia Continues in Areas Not Limited by Sanctions

There is ongoing cooperation between the two countries in the banking sector, and the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, among others.Continue reading

Instead of increasing capacity, Croatia has increased transit fees. This has made it impossible for Hungary to have “any hope” of diversification. The same is true for gas: “If we stop the TurkStream pipeline,” the other incoming pipelines “can no longer supply us.”

In the areas not affected by the sanctions, Hungary will continue to cooperate with Russia as normal, because it is in our national interest,

Szijjártó concluded.

Fuel Prices Skyrocketing Due to Ukrainian and Croatian Transit Fees
Fuel Prices Skyrocketing Due to Ukrainian and Croatian Transit Fees

Week by week, the price of fuel is rising more and more dramatically in Hungary.Continue reading

Via Magyar Nemzet, Featured image via Facebook/Péter Szijjártó

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