Tallinn, December 10 (MTI) – Hungary and Estonia agree that Europe’s top priority should be to protect its borders, the foreign minister said after talks with Estonian officials on Thursday.
Peter Szijjarto discussed European security issues, energy supply and the migrant crisis with his Estonian counterpart, Marina Kaljurand, the heads of the Estonian parliament’s foreign and European affairs committees and trade officials.
Szijjarto said he and Kaljurand agreed that it is “unacceptable” that certain European Union member states deliberately violated the bloc’s rules that are meant to ensure the protection of its external borders.
The minister said he and his negotiating partners agreed that it was “a shame” that the European Commission “has kept silent on its decision” to double the capacity of the Nord Stream gas pipeline that supplies Russian gas to Germany, bypassing Ukraine, as the EC’s argument against the expansion of the Southern Corridor was that it bypassed Ukraine. Szijjarto said gas supply along the Nord Stream pipeline involves western European businesses instead of central and eastern European ones, meaning that the EC applies “the same, unacceptable double standards” in energy. Szijjarto and his negotiating partners called on the EC to support investments that contribute to the energy security of central Europe and the Baltic region.
Referring to Hungary NATO mission of carrying out airspace protection in the Baltic states, he said Estonia was “so satisfied with and grateful for” Hungary’s efforts that it had invited the Hungarian air force to patrol the Baltic airspace in the next mission beginning in 2019.
Szijjarto and his colleagues also discussed bilateral trade ties. He said bilateral trade turnover has grown by more than 50 percent so far this year and Hungary’s export volume to Estonia has increased by more than 55 percent. He said Hungary’s Eximbank has opened a 370 million euro credit line to support Hungarian small and medium-sized enterprises doing business in Estonia. Szijjarto said the most important areas of business cooperation were the IT sector and the food industry.
Szijjarto said Hungary will host a conference next year to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Hungary and Estonia with the Estonian foreign minister to be invited as the guest of honour.