“Hungary and the United Arab Emirates have been able to successfully increase their cooperation despite the fact that objective circumstances have been continuously hindering this in the recent period”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI on Tuesday. The Minister was on an official visit to Abu Dhabi, where he held talks with the UAE’s Foreign Minister, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, and Minister of State for Foreign Trade.

Reporting on his negotiations, the Hungarian Foreign Minister highlighted the fact that bilateral trade flow between the two countries increased by 37 percent last year, and by 14 percent during the first two quarters of this year, thereby reaching 160 million dollars. “We have now concluded agreements that will further develop cooperation, and which afford another Hungarian company the opportunity to enter the country’s market”, he added.

“The most important agreement concerns the fact that Tungsram will be establishing a subsidiary in Abu Dhabi and constructing a plant at a cost of 4 million dollars, towards which the Hungarian government will also be providing financial assistance”, he emphasised. “Tungsram has already received orders for the modernisation of public lighting systems from several cities in the United Arab Emirates, and the expectation is that when the factory is realised, more cities from the Emirates will be using the company’s product to modernise their public lighting”, he explained.

FOTÓ: Borsos Mátyás

Mr. Szijjártó spoke about the fact that the parties have agreed on the establishment of a joint business council with the participation of interested enterprises. “Eximbank is providing a 725-million-dollar credit line for joint projects between enterprises from the two countries”, he said. The Minister said the parties had also agreed to relaunch air freight transport between the two countries, while affording entry to their countries’ territory for the crews of freight transport planes. He also stated that they had agreed they will be taking into account the recommendations of the European Union and concluding their investment protection agreement accordingly, which will guarantee a secure legal background for enterprises.

The Minister said Hungarian energy company MOL would like to appear on the UAE energy market with a unique technology, which is in high demand in view of the fact that the country would like to increase the extraction efficiency of its oil fields, in addition to which the world’s fourth largest connected natural gas field was recently discovered on the territory of the United Arab Emirates, from which the extraction of natural gas could soon begin.

FOTÓ: Borsos Mátyás

Mr. Szijjártó pointed out that the UAE put the region’s first ever nuclear power plant into commission last month, and Hungary’s over 30-year experience with relation to operations and nuclear safety could provide a good foundation for developing energy-related cooperation. He noted that Hungary is providing scholarship places for 100 students from the United Arab Emirates to attend Hungarian universities.

The Minister said that in his opinion the United Arab Emirates is playing an extremely important role in the Middle East peace process in view of the fact that it recently concluded an agreement with Israel on the normalisation of diplomatic relations. “This is very good news for Hungary, because the more there is peace and tranquillity in the region, the smaller the chance of migration pressure towards Europe developing here”, he pointed out.
“There is major hope that Israel will be able to resolve its relations with other Arab countries in future, and then one of the world’s most severe crisis regions can finally also start moving towards a resolution, which will provide an opportunity to focus on profitable economic, energy-related, investment and trade issues in cooperation with both Israel and Arab countries”, he stated. “We highly appreciate the efforts of the United Arab Emirates with relation to this issue, and we will continue to support Israel’s politics in the interests of enabling it to resolve its relations with as many Arab countries as possible within the region”, Mr. Szijjártó stated.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade / MTI)