The role of Central Asia in the world has grown more important both in terms of security and the global economy, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said after talks with his Kyrgyz counterpart Ruslan Kazakbaev in Budapest on Monday, adding that the European Union should devote greater attention to the region.
The failure of the international military campaign in Afghanistan means that the security of Central Asia has a greater impact on global security than ever before, Szijjártó said.
Yet certain EU leaders continue to make “irresponsible comments” that could easily lead to a migration wave bigger than the one Europe experienced in 2015, the minister warned. Szijjártó said the opinions of the Central Asian countries should not be ignored, namely that the problems arising in Afghanistan should be addressed locally.
“This is exactly why it is irresponsible and dangerous for EU institutions to encourage Afghans to migrate,” he said.
“This would destabilise the whole region, which would also have a serious impact on Europe’s security situation.”
On another subject, Szijjártó said it was also important for Hungarian businesses to benefit from Central Asia’s economic growth through the government’s strategy of opening to the East.
Trade turnover between Hungary and Kyrgyzstan is up 62 percent this year, he said, adding that Hungarian pharmaceutical company Gedeon Richter was also expanding its share on the Kyrgyz market. Also, an agreement on the establishment of a 16 million US dollar Kyrgyz-Hungarian fund to support investments by Hungarian companies will enter into force in the coming week, he added.
“We Hungarians are more understanding of Central Asia than perhaps any other European country,”
Szijjártó said. “Therefore we are happy to act as a bridge . and would prefer if the EU devoted greater attention to this region.”
Szijjártó also noted that Hungary opened an embassy in Bishkek last year.
The embassy issues visas to six EU countries, and more member states have expressed interest, he said.
As we wrote before, Hungary’s foreign policy strategy of opening to the East has proven to be successful over the past ten years, with economic cooperation with the Turkic countries greatly benefiting the country’s national economy, the foreign minister said in Istanbul. Details HERE.