“The Eastern Partnership is one of the European Union’s most important policies”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared in Tbilisi on Monday.

At his joint press conference with Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, Mr. Szijjártó underlined: “Following the coronavirus pandemic, a new world order will come about with a new distribution of power”. “Amid this new distribution of power, the European Union can only be strong if it is capable of amassing many allies to stand by its side”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

The Minister also assured Georgia of Hungary’s continued support, stressing: “We would like Georgia’s European integration process to be rapid and successful”. “There are fifteen Hungarians working to assure this within the EU’s monitoring mission, and a Hungarian expert is also assisting the Georgian Foreign Ministry with his work”, he added. “From among the non-NATO states, Georgia is contributing the most to NATO operations on a per capita basis, and accordingly it deserves to have the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation open its Membership Action Plan (MAP) for it”, Mr. Szijjártó underlined.

The Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade indicated that agreements were signed between Budapest and Tbilisi within several fields during his visit. Amongst others, a 135-million dollar credit line has been opened at the Hungarian Export-Import Bank in the interests of facilitating cooperation between enterprise from the two countries, a cultural agreement was signed, and an agreement was also concluded on maintaining and further expanding higher education cooperation.

Mr. Szijjártó thanked the Georgian government for authorising the erection of a memorial to the Hungarian prisoners of war who were imprisoned in Georgia during the second world war, the unveiling of which will occur in the autumn. Some 6700 Hungarian prisoners of war were confined in Georgia, around five hundred of whom lost their lives.

The Minister told the press that a joint Hungarian-Georgian working group has been established, which will be continuously monitoring the development of the virus situation, and preparing reports on when and under what conditions the easing or lifting of restrictions between the partners will become possible. “Hungarian-Georgian cooperation has been reinforced during the epidemic; the Hungarian government helped 19 Georgian citizens to return home, and authorised the export of pharmaceutical raw materials to the Caucasus”, he pointed out.

At the press conference, Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani thanked Hungary for its unbroken support in recent years.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)