“It is in Hungary interests for natural gas to arrive in Hungary via as many sources and supply routes as possible, and Turkmenistan is in possession of the world’s fourth largest natural gas reserves, following Russia, Iran and Qatar, and accordingly we have an interest in gas from Turkmenistan being able to reach Europe”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s State Secretary for Information and the International Representation of Hungary Tamás Menczer said on Tuesday in Budapest following a session of the Hungary-Turkmenistan Inter-Governmental Committee for Economic Cooperation.

At the press conference following the meeting, Mr. Menczer added: “With relation to gas shipments, we are examining how Turkmenistani gas could reach the Southern Gas Corridor via Azerbaijan and Turkey”. “At the meeting, the Hungarian party made an undertaking according to which, if the required infrastructure is established to facilitate the transport of Turkmenistani gas to Europe, then Hungary will be able to take on some 5 billion cubic metres of gas each year as a result”, the State Secretary told reporters.

“We would also like to expand cooperation within the pharmaceuticals industry; Richter Gedeon is performing successfully on the Turkmenistani market, and increasing the exports of Hungarian pharmaceuticals and pharmacological products represents a major opportunity”, Mr. Menczer added. “Turkmenistan’s agriculture is to a significant extent based on the cultivation of cotton production, which requires large volumes of water, and accordingly there is also interest from Turkmenistan with relation to Hungarian water management knowhow. Hungary is currently affording twenty students from Turkmenistan the opportunity to study at Hungarian universities via the Stipendium Hungaricum programme, but in view of the high level of oversubscription the Turkmenistani party has asked that opportunities for expansion be examined”, the State Secretary continued.

Mr. Menczer briefed Minister of Finance and the Economy Batir Bazarov, the head of the Turkmenistani delegation, on the success of Hungary’s Eastern Opening policy, emphasising the fact that 5.3 billion euros in foreign investment arrived in Hungary last year, half of which came from South Korea, and also highlighting that since 2010 Hungarian trade flow and exports to the countries targeted by its Eastern Opening policy have increased by 29 percent and 24 percent respectively, despite the not too favourable global political and economic processes.