Hungary is working to bolster relations not only on a national level but also within the Visegrad Four; therefore the Hungarian Government has initiated the establishment of a V4 cooperation platform, Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga stated, following talks with Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov. A forum to this end is set to be organized as soon as during the Hungarian presidency as of 1 July.

The two politicians welcomed the fact that the 25th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries was marked by the re-launching of direct flights between Budapest and Astana, and the opening of the Hungarian pavilion at the EXPO.

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Speaking of improving cooperation, Mihály Varga said that Hungary had opened honorary consulates in Aktovbe and Simkent last year, and the number of Kazakh students at Hungarian universities was set to rise from 45 last year to 200 this year. In his overview of bilateral relations, Minister Abdrakhmanov highlighted the fact that MOL Ltd, which has been operating in Kazakhstan since 2004, has hitherto invested USD 200 million in the country, and thus the country has been a key element on MOL’s exploration and extraction portfolio.

At a panel discussion held after the Energy for Sustainable Development International Forum, Mihály Varga said the latest data showed that the share of renewable energies accounted for some 15 percent of total energy used in Hungary, which figure was well above the 8.3 percent target laid down in EU directives. The Government, however, is working on increasing this proportion, therefore in 2014-2020 more than HUF 768bn (USD 2.79bn) of grants are to be allocated for energy industry development projects, the Minister noted. Hungary has an action plan for boosting energy efficiency and energy savings, he added.

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Following the panel discussion, participants – representatives, among others, from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan – endorsed proposals for the establishment of a sustainable energy system.

(Ministry for National Economy)