Budapest, February 3 (MTI) – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Hungary on Thursday has provoked mixed reactions from Hungarian politicians attending a panel discussion on Russia’s efforts to gain influence in Hungary and Europe. Putin’s talks in Budapest were conducted in a “constructive, pragmatic atmosphere based on mutual respect,” Hungary’s foreign minister told public media.
Lawmaker Gergely Gulyás, deputy leader of ruling Fidesz, said the two countries seek to maintain “normal, consolidated” relations, which involves regular top-level meetings.
He said that Hungary’s involvement in Euro-Atlantic integration does not rule out balanced ties with Russia.
Gulyás called Russia vital in guaranteeing Hungary’s safe energy supply. He added that the economic sanctions proved abortive and ran counter to Europe’s interest of developing balanced ties with Russia.
Peter Ungár, foreign policy spokesman of the green LMP, called the policy of sanctions a response to Russia’s actions.
“There is hardly any step more detrimental to Hungary’s interests than Russia’s move to enter the territory of one of Hungary’s neighbours,” he said.
Istvan Szent-Iványi, foreign policy expert of the Liberal Party, said “the Russian regime is oppressive and despotic, which alone makes it problematic to maintain ties with it.” He accused Russia of efforts to reach a new Yalta Treaty, which “would enable it to do what it wants” in central and eastern Europe, he said.
For Putin, it is a major success that he was welcomed in a NATO and EU member state, and that his hosts fully agreed with him, Szent-Iványi said.
Szijjártó assesses Putin visit
Péter Szijjártó told Kossuth Radio that following Thursday’s talks the two sides would start negotiations on Russian gas supplies to Hungary after 2021. He added that negotiating conditions for years ahead ensures a good position for the buyer.
Concerning European sanctions against Russia, Szijjártó said that those measures have failed in both political and economic terms and called for eliminating them.
On the subject of Ukraine, he said that Hungary’s interest was in a “stable and strong” country, but added that “Hungary expects that Ukraine’s Hungarian minority is granted all the rights according to European standards”.