Hungary urges the European Union and Azerbaijan to reach an agreement on renewing their strategic partnership, because the most likely scenario for diversifying Europe’s gas supply is importing gas from Azerbaijan, Hungary’s foreign minister said after talks with Azeri officials in Baku on Friday.
Peter Szijjarto met Azerbaijan’s prime minister, as well as the foreign, economy and farm ministers. The talks yielded a cooperation agreement between Hungary’s Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy and a renewal of a cooperation pact between the Balassi Institute and the Azerbaijan University of Languages.
Szijjarto said Hungary was a firm supporter of the renewal of the EU’s strategic partnership with Azerbaijan, arguing that “the most probable and most viable scenario for ensuring Europe’s energy security in the medium term” was transporting gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, and specifically central Europe.
He noted that at the end of May, Azerbaijan began transmitting gas through its pipeline linked to Turkey. Now the burden is on Europe to create the infrastructure necessary to transport the gas arriving in southeast Europe to central Europe, he added.
For now, Azerbaijan will transport 10 billion cubic metres of gas to southeast Europe a year, but this amount will double within a few years once Azerbaijan completes the exploitation of another gas field, Szijjarto said.
On another subject, he noted that the Hungarian embassy in Baku currently serves as the local NATO Contact Point Embassy. Azerbaijan has increased its presence in NATO missions, he said, adding that Hungarian and Azeri troops are currently serving together in NATO’s mission in Afghanistan.
As regards bilateral ties, Szijjarto said Hungary’s Eximbank is financing a 17 million euro greenhouse construction project being carried out by a Hungarian and an Azerbaijani company. This will be followed by more projects involving Hungarian companies, he added.
Szijjarto also noted that Azerbaijani private cargo airline Silk Way Airlines recently relaunched its Budapest-Baku flight, making freight transport between the two countries significantly easier. Further, a Hungarian energy drink company has recently claimed the top spot on Azerbaijan’s energy drink market, he added.
featured photo: KKM