Budapest, March 10 (MTI) – The success of the Eastern Partnership programme — an initiative of the European Union governing its relationship with several post-Soviet states — is of great importance to the long-term security of the bloc, Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister, said after talks with his Moldovan counterpart on Friday.
Szijjártó said the EU should tighten its cooperation with the countries involved — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Moldova plays a key role in this cooperation, and its security and stability are in the EU’s vital interest, he said.
Hungary and Moldova agreed to strengthen political and economic ties, Szijjártó said.
An important security policy consideration by Hungary is that the EU’s security greatly depends on the stability of its neighbours. In the recent period, the events in north Africa and the Middle East and the conflict in Ukraine have distracted attention from the relations maintained with Eastern Partnership countries, Szijjártó said.
Cooperation between Hungary and Moldova has been successful under the framework of the United Nations, and Hungary supports Moldova’s membership application to the UN Human Rights Council, he added.
Trade turnover exceeded 100 million dollars last year, including 96 million dollars of Hungarian exports, so there is a significant surplus in this area, Szijjártó said.
Richter is a chief participant in Moldova’s drugs market, and in order to further improve the company’s position in the country Hungary has made proposals to make further investments there easier. Cooperation in water management was also agreed on, he said.
Szijjártó said that Moldova could always rely on Hungary in the area of reforms and Hungary helps Moldova’s European integration efforts.
The two countries took up diplomatic relations 25 years ago, Andrei Galbur, Moldovan minister for foreign affairs and European integration, noted. Since then, Moldova has received financial and technological help, as well as assistance in the integration process, from Hungary, he said.
On another subject, Szijjártó told the press conference in response to a question that Donald Tusk had fulfilled his duties as the head of European Council “very well” and it is important that a central European leader is present in the most important European body as well as the European People’s Party.
At the same time, the fact that his country’s government did not support him led to a “delicate situation”, Szijjártó added. Efforts were made to come to a consensus that would be acceptable to both Europe and Poland but this failed to materialise. He added that the issue would not cause a difficulty in Visegrad cooperation, Szijjarto said, adding that it is the strongest and most effective cooperation in the EU.