Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto spoke about Georgian-Hungarian cooperation at today’s joint press conference with Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze.
Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty
Hungary remains committed to Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and considers breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions (South Ossetia) integral parts of Georgia, Szijjarto said.
He believes that if Russia and several other countries were to abide by international obligations, the world would be a much safer place to live.
Supporting the Geneva International Discussions - the only format of dialogue between Georgia and Russia since the Russia-Georgia war of August 2008 – Szijjarto believes the European Union has an important role in peaceful regulation of the conflicts.
Hungary has 14 representatives in the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) - an unarmed civilian monitoring mission tasked with ensuring peace and stability for people who live on both sides of the Administrative Boundary Line in Georgia’s breakaway regions.
Visa free regime with the European Union (EU)
Georgian citizens with biometric passports will travel without visa requirements to the Schengen Zone countries from March 28 as the new legislation lifting visa-requirements for Georgians has been published in the European Union’s (EU) Official Journal earlier this month.
You have ticked all the boxes, you have raised all expectations and you have made all kinds of efforts in order to comply and you complied...so we are actually frustrated and dissatisfied with the fact that you didn’t receive visa-free travel before”, Szijjarto said, adding that it is better late than never.
NATO Membership Action Plan already (MAP)
Szijjarto also said his country supports Georgia’s aspirations towards the European and Euro-Atlantic structures.
We would like to see Georgia come closer to NATO”, Szijjarto said adding that "we made it clear on many occasions that you should have been invited to the MAP”, – a NATO programme of advice, assistance and practical support tailored to the individual needs of countries wishing to join the Alliance.
Szijjarto said Hungary respects Georgia’s presence in Afghanistan as a non-member state and its contribution to NATO’s struggle against terrorism.
Exclusive credit line for Hungarian-Georgian business cooperation
The Hungarian Eximbank has opened a credit line of 85 million euros exclusively for facilitating Hungarian-Georgian business-to-business cooperation.
We have assigned some fields of economy like water management, agriculture and food industry, technologies, and infrastructural development where Hungarian companies have an interest in participating”, he said.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has scheduled a visit to Georgia in April together with over 50 companies, which Szijjarto believes will upgrade the economic relationship between the two countries to a higher level.
Scholarships for Georgian youth to study in Hungary
Moreover, Hungary has signed an agreement granting 50 scholarships on the annual basis on Hungarian universities for Georgian students, "so we really do hope that your ‘youngsters’ will take advantage of that and will serve as ambassadors and promoters of our friendly and good bilateral relationship”.
Georgian Foreign Minister Janelidze believes that with the upcoming visa-free regime for Georgian citizens the Hungarian budget airline Wizz Air will offer even more flights to the European cities from Georgia’s central town of Kutaisi.