Growing economic cooperation between Hungary and Russia is increasingly beneficial to the Hungarian economy, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó told public media by phone from Moscow on Monday.
Szijjártó called for continued dialogue between the EU, its member states and Russia, saying that the “imminent global trade war” warranted cooperation based on mutual respect between eastern and western Europe.
Russia was Hungary’s second largest trading partner before the EU introduced sanctions against it and they answered in kind, he said. It has since slid to 12th place, he added. Hungarian economic players lost about 7 billion dollars worth of export opportunities due to the sanctions, Szijjártó said.
Many European countries now prefer dialogue and “an honest reckoning with the effects of the sanctions” instead of their automatic prolongation, he said.
After years of backsliding, trade between the two countries grew by 30 percent to 5.5 billion dollars in 2017, he noted. Relations have seen a marked progress in finance, agriculture, health care and energy, he said.
As regards gas imports, the minister said Hungary will buy 4.3 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia next year. “We are now working towards an agreement for 2020, to ensure the gas supply of the Hungarian industry and people,” he said. Talks are under way on expanding financial cooperation, too, he said.
Szijjártó is scheduled to meet Russian Minister of Trade and Industry Denis Manturov, Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova, Nikolai Fyodorov, the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council, Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak and Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller.