three seas initiative

Hungary has joined the Three Seas Investment Fund and submitted proposals for 16 projects covering the areas of digitalisation, shipping and energy, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said at an online meeting of foreign ministers focusing on the Three Seas Initiative on Thursday.

Szijjártó said at the meeting, the video of which he posted on Facebook, that Hungary had always been a dedicated supporter of the Three Seas Initiative, which he said chimed with the economic interests of central and eastern European countries.

He added it was important at the same time for the initiative not to be a talking shop, and it would only prove useful should projects that promote the development and cohesion of the region be implemented.

The minister said it was clear from Europe’s infrastructure map that central Europe was relatively under-developed along the north-south axis in terms of energy and transport, lacking, for example, a high-speed rail network east of Germany. Three Seas offers an excellent framework to address such gaps, he said.

Szijjártó noted that Hungary is already building gas pipelines with Slovakia and Romania, and there are plans for links with Slovenia too.

The construction of a 230km stretch of Via Carpatia is planned to be completed in Hungary this autumn, he noted. Visegrad Group countries have taken the first steps to build high-speed rail lines connecting their capitals, and Bucharest is planned to be linked to this network, he said, adding that Hungary and Croatia have successfully begun to jointly operate an LNG terminal on Krk Island.

Hungary signed the accession contract to the Three Seas Investment Fund last December, and Eximbank has already transferred 20 million euros to it.

Hungary has submitted proposals for several projects, he added. Szijjártó highlighted the diversification of gas supplies, emphasising that this was a matter of national security.

A Slovenia-Hungary gas pipeline securing gas supplies for the two countries could be expanded to Italy, he said. Also, existing networks between Hungary and Slovakia must be further developed, he added.

These projects will come into their own once pipelines between Bulgaria and Greece are finalised, he said.

Szijjártó encouraged the other ministers to support the inclusion of this project among the priorities of the Three Seas Initiative.

Hungary is interested in the Three Seas Initiative being broadly inclusionary and is working to cooperate with neighbours to the East and West. “Connectivity and joint projects are highly important,” he said, adding that the coronavirus epidemic had shown how “we are mutually dependent” and should act in concert.

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Source: MTI

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