“Hungary is continuously looking for alternative opportunities with which to increase its energy security and diversify its procurement sources, and accordingly it regards the Cypriot gas to be extracted from the Aphrodite gas field as a realistic alternative, and the two countries have now concluded a bilateral energy agreement with relation to this”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Friday in his inaugural speech at the new Hungarian Consulate in Nicosia.

“Energy supply is of critical importance in Central Europe. Hungary’s gas supply fundamentally comes from one source: Russia. Having signed this new agreement with Cyprus, Hungary is beginning preparations for enabling Cypriot gas to play a long-term role in the natural gas supply of Southeast Europe and Central Europe”, the Minister added. “With relation to water-related cooperation, Hungary will be commencing negotiations with Cyprus on how advanced Hungarian water management technologies can help Cyprus improve its water supply. Cyprus’s water supply is a major problem, annual rainfall has gradually decreased, and its distribution is becoming increasingly uneven”, Mr. Szijjártó added.

There is a colony of 2-3 thousand Hungarians living in Cyprus, and this year saw a new record for the number of Hungarian tourists visiting the country, with 24 thousand travelling there until the end of October, which represents an increase of 72 percent compared to last year’s figure. “Cyprus is one of the Hungarians’ most popular holiday destinations, and this is why we have decided to open a Consulate in Nicosia, to provide representation for the Hungarians living here and travelling to Cyprus. From next year, regular flights will also be launched between Debrecen and Paphos, which could further increase tourist traffic to the country”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

“Hungary regards Cyprus as a friend and ally. The two countries represent many similar positions on issues relating to the future of Europe. Both regard a strong Europe made up of strong nations as a goal to be achieved”, he stated. “We do not want a Europe that wants to force member states to forget their traditions, heritage or identity. Both countries want a Europe that is made up of nations that are proud of their identity, culture, traditions and religion”, the Minister declared. “Cyprus and Hungary both regard increasing the international fight against terrorism as important, and regard protecting their borders, and accordingly the security of their citizens, as their national responsibility. Accordingly, now, at a time when there are major disputes concerning the future of the European Union, the two countries will be representing their positions in these debates in cooperation and in each other’s support”, the Minister underlined. Mr. Szijjártó told the press that his Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Christodoulides “is one of the few foreign ministers, particularly in Europe, who if they say something, one doesn’t have to think about what they really meant. We Hungarians greatly appreciate this courage and honesty, because we too are always honest and open. Accordingly, our meetings are always effortless and efficient. We say what we think, and we know very well that the other also thinks what he says”, the Hungarian Minister declared.