“The success of the Eastern Partnership Programme is extremely important from the point of view of the long-term security of Europe, and accordingly Cooperation between the EU and the countries of the Eastern Partnership must be tightened”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Friday in Budapest following talks with his Moldovan counterpart.

“Moldova plays an important part in this cooperation, and the peace and stability of the country has a direct security effect on all of Europe”, the Minister highlighted. Mr Szijjártó told the press that he and his negotiating partner had agreed on improving bilateral political and economic relations.

“An important fundamental principle of Hungarian foreign policy is that the security of the European Union depends to a great extent on the stability of its neighbours, and recently the events in North Africa and the Middle East, as well as the conflict in Ukraine, have channelled attention away from the relations maintained with the countries of the Eastern Partnership”, he explained.

DownloadPhoto: Zsolt Burger/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

According to the Hungarian Foreign Minister, the two countries have already cooperated successfully within the framework of the United Nations, and Hungary is supporting Moldova’s application for membership of the UN Human Rights Council.

On the subject of economic relations, Mr. Szijjártó said: “Last year, trade flow exceeded 100 million dollars, of which 96 million were Hungarian exports, meaning there is a significant foreign trade surplus in this regard”.

The Minister also spoke about the fact that Hungarian company Richter is the foremost participant on the Moldovan pharmaceuticals market, an in order to simplify operations for the company it was suggested that Moldova introduce new regulations to enable the further strengthening of the company’s position I the country. Another topic of discussion at the meeting was cooperation on water management and the fact that Hungary has launched a 400 thousand dollar FAO joint development programme in Moldova to develop irrigation technologies. Hungary’s Eximbank has also opened an 85 million euro credit line to facilitate the forging of economic relations, he added.

“Moldova has always been able to count on Hungary with regard to reforms, just as we are also assisting Moldova’s European Integration efforts”, he noted.

DownloadPhoto: Zsolt Burger/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Moldovan Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Andrei Galbur stressed: “The two countries established diplomatic relations 25 years ago and since then Moldova has received a lot of support from Hungary towards its European integration process, in addition to receiving financial and technological assistance from the country”.

Mr. Galbur told the press that during the meeting the two politicians had reviewed European processes, the international and regional situation and the events in Ukraine. He also spoke about the fact that the Moldovan Government is striving to improve its people’s standard of living to assure that they do not want to try and find work in other countries in the hope of a better life.

According to the Moldovan Foreign Minister there are still plenty of opportunities to be exploited within the sphere of bilateral trade, and accordingly he welcomed Eximbank’s new credit line.

Prior to the press conference, the two Ministers signed a cooperation programme on science and education for the period 2017-2019, in addition to which they also exchanged copies of the protocol on mutual regulations regarding employment and family members in the receiving state. Following the vent, they opened an exhibition of meals in the Ministry’s main hall marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

DownloadPhoto: Zsolt Burger/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

At the press conference, Mr. Szijjártó said in reply to a question: Donald Tusk did an excellent job at the helm of the European Council and it is important that a Central European politician has also headed Europe’s most important body, which in addition is a member of the European People’s Party. However, a sensitive situation had arisen in view of the fact that his country’s government had not supported Tusk’s nomination. They were working to achieve a consensus that was acceptable form both a European and a Polish perspective, but unfortunately did not succeed, he said. However, Mr. Szijjártó said that in his opinion the affair is not causing difficulties with regard to Visegrád cooperation, which is currently the EU’s strongest and most effective alliance.

In reply to a question, Mr. Szijjártó also spoke about the Hungarian couple who died in Belize. “Hungary maintains diplomatic relations with the country, but doesn’t have an embassy there, so the Embassy in Mexico City is handling the case. “According to information from the authorities in Belize provided via telephone, two Hungarians citizens died after their car hit a lamppost on a busy main road. The bodies were found in a burnt-out car and local police are investigating the incident. It is possible that their deaths were not the result of a road traffic accident, but of a serious crime, possible murder, because one of the bodies was found on the back seat, and the other on the front passenger seat”, he told reporters.

Mr. Szijjártó also said that the two victims, a man and a woman, had a house in Belize, and although they weren’t permanent residents, they spent a lot of time there. The Embassy in Mexico City is in contact with the family and is providing the required consular assistance, he added.

In reply to another question concerning the Romanian measles epidemic, the Foreign Minister said that people travelling to Romania should observe the fundamental rules of hygiene and take their vaccination books with them if possible. The parents of children under the age of 15 months should be particularly careful, as these infants have not yet received their required vaccination, and people who have not been vaccinated should consider doing so, he explained.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)