The Hungarian governmet will provide “every assistance” to Moldova’s endeavours to join the European Union, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Chisinau on Wednesday.
Following talks with his Moldovan counterpart Nicu Popescu, Szijjártó highligthed the geopolitical appreciation of the Eastern Partnership programme, and urged the earliest enlargement of the EU as well as promoting closer ties with countries in the region.
The foreign ministry quoted Szijjártó as noting the “strong positions” of Hungarian retail bank OTP and pharma Richter in Moldova’s markets, adding that bilateral trade had posted a record 200 million euros last year.
Meanwhile, Szijjártó regretted that WizzAir had temporarily suspended its operations in Moldova, and said he hoped services would be resumed “once security quarantees are in place”. The governments of Hungary and Moldova are both interested in having a direct flight between their capitals and “would like to convince WizzAir to return as soon as possible,” he said.
Szijjártó also said the Hungarian government supported a roaming-fee agreement between the EU and Moldova, which would “also strengthen connections”.
On another subject, Szijjártó said NATO members would not be reimbursed for earlier contributions aimed to finance the Afghan military, and expressed the Hungarian government’s wish to use some of the funds, HUF 120 million (EUR 322,000), to strengthen the security of Moldova. He said Moldova was situated “on the eastern border of the European Political Community, therefore we are mutually interested in each other’s security.”
Earlier in the day, Szijjártó met Prime Minister Dorin Recean, Economic Development Minister Dumitru Alaiba, Sergiu Prodan, the minister of culture.
On Hungary’s energy diversification, Szijjártó said the start of gas deliveries from Azerbaijan, slated for later this year, would be an important step. The political agreement has been signed already, and trade talks have also been successful, he said. Hungary expects to receive 100 million cubic meters of gas this year already, he said.
At the same time, development of south-eastern European infrastructure is key to the success of the project, he said. Current capacities would not be enough to make a difference in energy diversification, he added.
“This is a task for the European Union. [South-east European countries] are right to expect the EU to fund developments to increase gas delivery capacities,” he said.
Chisinau hosts a meeting of the European Political Community on June 1, which is expected to bring a “decision on developing transport and energy ties between the EU and its border territories,” he said.
“We find it unacceptable that the EU rejects funding natural gas infrastructure, and see gas as an important pillar of energy security at present and in the coming years,” he said. Gas from Azerbaijan is a key alternative for Hungary and Moldova too, he said.