Kiev, October 28 (MTI) – Hungary remains committed to supporting Ukraine’s European integration and considers it “unacceptable” that the European Union still has not granted the country visa free status, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said after talks with Pavlo Klimkin, his Ukrainian counterpart, in Kiev on Friday.
Ukraine has fulfilled all requirements for receiving a visa waiver, Szijjarto told a press conference. He said Hungary considers it “unsportsmanlike and unfair” that in spite of this, Ukrainian citizens have still not been granted visa exemptions. Laying down new requirements after the visa talks have been completed is “simply un-European behaviour”, Szijjarto said.
Answering a question from MTI, Szijjarto said “fairness” and “European interests” would dictate that the agreement granting Ukraine visa free status should be signed during Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s visit to Brussels on November 24.
Szijjarto noted that Hungary was one of the first countries to ratify the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine and “regrets” that the Netherlands “is blocking” the full implementation of the agreement. While Hungary respects the outcome of a Dutch referendum held last spring in which voters rejected closer ties between the EU and Ukraine, Hungary expects the Netherlands to come up with a solution to the current situation, Szijjarto said.
He said the government would provide 50 billion euros in credit to Ukraine for road construction projects in the Transcarpathian region in western Ukraine.
The minister added that by 2020 Hungary’s M3 motorway would be extended all the way to the Hungarian-Ukrainian border.
Szijjarto noted that Hungary had launched a 2 billion forint (EUR 6.5m) economic development programme in the Transcarpathian region. The Hungarian government is accepting bids for tourism, agricultural and urban development projects. A total of 14,262 bids have come in so far, Szijjarto said, adding that the funds will be disbursed to the winning bidders before the end of the year.
Szijjarto said he and Klimkin had agreed to intensify bilateral energy security cooperation. By the end of the month, Hungary will have transmitted 567 million cubic metres of gas to Ukraine this year, Szijjarto said. He also called for restarting diesel supply to Hungary via the pipeline going through Ukraine.
Klimkin thanked Hungary for supporting Ukraine’s investment projects near its border, which he said would also create jobs in the region. He expressed his gratitude for Hungary’s support of Ukraine being granted visa free status by the EU and for Hungary’s participation in the OSCE’s monitoring mission in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The minister said that Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman would pay a visit to Hungary in November.
Photo: Foreign Ministry of Hungary