The long-term solution to the ongoing energy crisis is for Europe to procure as much energy from as many directions as possible, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Thursday.
Orbán signed a strategic partnership agreement with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili in Budapest. In their joint statement to the press, Orbán said energy prices would go down from increased supply, which was in Hungary’s fundamental interest, as the country “is fighting inflation, which in large part is caused by high energy prices”.
A new large-scale energy partnership is taking shape which Hungarians have a special interest in, Orbán said. Plans are to set up a new large electricity line system that would deliver energy from Azerbaijan to Hungary via Georgia and Romania, he said.
This could be used to replace a large amount of natural gas that Hungary currently uses to generate electricity, Orbán said. Instead, Hungary would now receive electricity directly, he added. Orbán said Garibashvili had expressed his full support for the project.
Meanwhile, Orbán criticised the “discriminatory” decision by Brussels to grant EU candidate status to Moldova and Ukraine but not Georgia. “This is an inexplicable, morally unacceptable and harmful decision,” Orbán said. Georgia’s efforts over the past years make it deserving of candidate status, the prime minister said, adding that the decision taken in Brussels was “disrespectful” to the Georgian people and nation.
Hungary continues to support granting Georgia candidate status as quickly as possible, Orbán said, adding that Hungary has sent experts to help prepare the Georgian government for the talks. A total of 16 Hungarians are part of the European Union’s monitoring mission in Georgia, he said.
Orbán said he and Garibashvili had agreed that their governments will hold a joint session in Georgia next year following a preparatory ministerial meeting. The joint government meeting is aimed at giving new momentum to bilateral economic cooperation, the prime minister added.
He said there was a “benevolent prejudice” towards Georgia in Hungary and though the two countries are geographically far apart, there were many similarities between them geopolitically. Also, both nations have major cultural traditions and a unique language which they have to preserve while being surrounded by larger peoples, he added.
Hungary and Georgia share very similar views when it comes to geopolitics, war and peace, Orbán said. “We Hungarians want an immediate ceasefire in the Ukraine-Russia war and peace talks to be held as soon as possible, which is very similar to the Georgian approach,” he said.
Garibashvili said Georgia’s primary goal was to obtain EU candidate status and an eventual membership. He expressed his thanks for Hungary’s support in this goal as well as its support of Georgia’s territorial integrity.
Georgia is currently implementing the European Council’s recommendations, he said, adding that its economic growth was in the double digits.
He said Georgia also wanted to join NATO, noting the country’s “huge sacrifices” in NATO missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Garibashvili said the war in Ukraine was “completely unacceptable”, adding that Georgia supported Ukraine in every way it could.
He welcomed the strategic partnership signed with Hungary, vowing to support the joint energy project.