Hungary is ready to tighten economic ties with Georgia, says Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Orban, accompanied by the Hungarian Cabinet Ministers, is paying an official visit to Tbilisi today.
He and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili spoke at a joint press conference following their face-to-face meeting this afternoon.
"Both of the countries have a history of being part of an Empire and now we both are sovereign. Our economic cooperation is continuing and there is much more to do. The purpose of our visit to Georgia is to express our readiness to strengthen our economic cooperation”, Orban said, adding Georgia and Hungary must use their political relations to intensify economic collaboration as well.
Kvirikashvili spoke about an educational cooperation and said that Orban voiced an initiative to let more Georgian students receive scholarships from the Hungarian government to study at leading Hungarian universities. From this year 80 Georgian students will receive such scholarships instead of 50 as it was before.
Today five agreements and memorandums were signed between Georgia and Hungary. One of them was about educational cooperation while others will see Georgian and Hungarian economy ministries cooperate to support investments, Finance ministries cooperate to exchange customs statistics and interior ministries support each other’s European aspirations.
Orban: Georgian reforms exemplary for Hungary
Orban praised Kvirikashvili as "a successful reformer” of not only Georgia but wider regain.
He said Georgia has implemented "very effective reforms” since Kvirikashvili held the position of economy minister first and later Prime Minister.
"I want to share my impressions with the Hungarian delegation and tell them that I was convinced Georgia is a real stable country”, Orban said.
"Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who before being prime minister held the post of economy minister, is truly the most successful minister in Georgia and in the region as well. He is known for his efficient economic reforms and is a very successful political figure”.
He added he recognises the reforms Georgia has recently implemented to modernise its taxation system as well as develop the education system.
"The results we saw in your country let us say that Georgia is a good example for Hungary”, Orban said.
CEU won’t close, says Orban
Orban said following his meeting with Kvirikashvili that the Central European University (CEU) will not close.
He said that "negotiations are underway” and the CEU "is not facing a closure or any other threat”.
Orban was met with two protest rallies in Tbilisi – one protesting against the Hungarian government’s policy and supporting the CEU, and the other protesting against the CEU supporters and supporting Orban’s policy.
Those in support of the CEU, gathered in front of a central city hotel where Orban is attending a Georgia-Hungary business forum, say that the CEU’s closure would be a step against liberty and education. A counter-rally convened miles away from that location with its participants saying Hungary has "the most adequate policy” in Europe regarding the migration crisis and other challenges.
Orban arrived in Tbilisi last evening, accompanied with his wife as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Siarto, Minister of National Economy Mihaly Varga, Minister of Human Resources Zoltan Balog, Minister of Rural Development Sandor Fazekas, Secretary of State for Energy in the Ministry of National Development Andras Aradszki and Minister of State in charge of the Programme Office of the Prime Minister Janos Nagy.
The delegation was met at Tbilisi International Airport by Georgian Education Minister Aleksandre Jejelava and Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze.
This morning Prime Minister Kvirikashvili hosted Orban at an official welcoming ceremony.
Below you can see the video of the official welcoming.