Hungarian foreign minister discusses cooperation in Slovenia
Ljubljana, April 6 (MTI) – There are three joint projects under way between Hungary and Slovenia which serve Hungary’s interests and energy security to a significant degree, Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister, said after talks with Karl Erjavec, his Slovenian counterpart, in Ljubljana on Thursday.
Projects to build a link between the gas networks and the power grids of the two countries are ongoing, Szijjártó told MTI by phone.
“This way we’ll be able to transmit 1.3 billion cubic metres of gas between Hungary and Slovenia within a few years,” Szijjártó said. As regards linking the two countries’ power grids, the minister noted the project has already been completed on Hungary’s side and is due to be completed in Slovenia by the end of 2018.
Further, there is a project to upgrade Koper harbour and a connecting railway line. He said Koper harbour was crucial for Hungary’s exporters, adding it was in the national interest to contribute financially to those projects. Hungary’s gains would be that its companies could establish a presence in the harbour, contribute to the upgrade of the railway line and Hungarian rail freight transport companies could be involved in the holding built around the project, Szijjártó said.
The two ministers also reached an agreement to open two new border crossing points between their countries. By late 2019, there will be a continuous motorway link between Budapest and Ljubljana, as by then the last Hungarian section of the motorway will be expanded to have two lanes in each direction, Szijjártó said.
He said Hungary and Slovenia were also political allies in terms of the most important issues affecting the region. The two countries share the same views on illegal migration and agree on the need to protect Europe’s external borders. Both countries also believe that the root causes of mass migration should be dealt with at their points of origin, Szijjarto said.
He said both Hungary and Slovenia support the enlargement of the European Union by integrating the western Balkan states, adding that both countries were interested in peace and stability in the region.
The minister also underlined the importance of bilateral cooperation within NATO. He said Hungary’s air force would continue to carry out patrol duties in Slovenian air space.
Hungary also wants to see closer cooperation between the Visegrad Four (V4) grouping and Slovenia, Szijjártó said. The minister noted that Budapest will host a meeting of the foreign ministers of the V4 countries, Austria and Slovenia in July.
He also said that Hungarian oil and gas company MOL’s strong presence on the Slovenian fuel retail market was a major economic success for Hungary. MOL is the third biggest player on the Slovenian fuel market, he said, adding that there are currently 45 MOL petrol stations in the country.