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Jun 08, 2020

Statement by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán following his talks with Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus

5 June 2020, Minsk (Мiнск)

Your Excellency,

First of all, I’d like to convey greetings and best wishes from the Hungarian people to you and the people of Belarus. It is an honour to be welcomed here today. We are repaying a long-standing debt: this is the first time a prime minister of Hungary has made an official visit to your country. It is an honour for me to be the first to do this. The President and I have confirmed our agreement that our two peoples and two countries are much closer to each other than we tend to think. 

We’ve discussed serious and important issues. I told the President that we support the European Union’s Eastern Partnership strategy, in which Belarus is a participant. Partnership – and this is what we’re talking about here – cannot be built with sanctions; and so Hungary represents the position that the EU should finally lift its sanctions against Belarus. This is the position we’ll take in European discussions on this. Cooperation between regions will be even more valuable after the global pandemic. I’m convinced that economic and trade cooperation between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union is in Europe’s interest. I told the President that we greatly appreciate the role played by Belarus in restoring regional security. The Minsk Protocol is the only hope for a settlement of the situation in Ukraine. Ukraine is our neighbour, so in the minds of the Hungarian people the word “Minsk” is now synonymous with the word “hope”. We’ve confirmed our agreement that Belarus plays an important role in the energy security of our country, of Hungary: all Hungary’s oil imports are carried by a pipeline passing through your country.

We’ve also concluded economic agreements. We’ve implemented our investment protection agreement, and we – Hungary – have opened a credit line of EUR 40 million at Eximbank to finance cooperation between Belarusian and Hungarian companies. We are proud that a large Hungarian company, Bábolna, plays a major role in your food industry. The double-decker trains mentioned by the President, which are also a novel sight in Hungary, will soon be operational. It’s a great thing for us to be able to implement such high technology as part of Belarusian-Hungarian-Swiss engineering industry cooperation. Thank you for your cooperation, Mr. President. I’d also like to inform you that half of Hungarian exports to your country are pharmaceutical products, which is proof of the Hungarian economy’s high level of technological development. We also welcome the fact that Wizzair will soon start running flights between our two capital cities. I’ve told the President that Hungary supports Belarus’s accession to the World Trade Organization, and that we also support the signing of a Belarus-NATO security agreement.

And finally nuclear energy represents a separate major area for cooperation between our two peoples, and our two governments. We reject the discriminatory approach to nuclear energy. Our two countries have decided to establish close engineering and technical cooperation in this field. We’re closely observing developments at your power plant in Astravets, which will start power generation soon, because the Paks II nuclear power plant under construction in Hungary is being built with similar technology. Here, too, there is knowledge and experience that can be shared and exchanged.

In conclusion, I’d like to inform you that every year Hungary awards Hungarian state scholarships to fifty Belarusian students. This is in the hope that cooperation between the two countries will not only be the domain of veterans like us, but that the next generation will follow what we have been building together today with the President. 

Thank you very much for your attention.