Budapest, January 10 (MTI) – Strengthening cooperation with Algeria is crucial both for economic and security reasons, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told MTI by phone from Algiers on Tuesday.
The security situation in North Africa directly impacts the security in Europe, that is why it is in the interests of Hungary to support peace and stability there, Szijjártó said.
Szijjártó insisted that uncertainty in Africa could result in an increased immigration pressure on Europe. He added, however, that Algeria was committed to curbing the migration pressure. The two countries agree that the migrant crisis needs to be tackled at its roots, meaning that people considering migrating to Europe need to be given help near their home countries, he said.
Szijjártó urged more intensive talks between the European Union and Algeria and said Hungary wants to see the next meeting of the EU-Algeria Association Council held in February.
He said the economic restructuring Algeria was undergoing due to a fall in energy carrier prices could present Hungarian companies doing business in that country with good opportunities, particularly in the field of agriculture.
Szijjártó said he had agreed with his negotiating partners that Hungary will build a dairy plant in Algeria and talks are also ongoing about the construction of a feed plant, which he said could be followed by further investments. Hungarian companies wishing to do business in Algeria will be helped by a trade office set to open there as well as a 270 million dollar credit line provided by Hungary’s Eximbank, the minister said.
Szijjártó also announced that Algeria’s prime minister will visit Hungary in the first half of the year. Several education, culture, sports and youth-related agreements reached on Tuesday will be signed in Budapest during the prime minister’s visit, he said.
Hungary will offer scholarships to 100 Algerian university students, Szijjarto said, noting that there are currently 87 Algerian scholarship-holders in Hungary.