Emerging from their meeting yesterday in Moscow, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Russian President Vladimir Putin affirmed that Hungary-Russia relations remain a priority for both nations.
During the joint press conference, the prime minister stressed that good relations between the two parts of Europe are in Hungary’s national interest. “Whenever there was tension between the western and eastern parts of Europe, Hungarians were affected negatively, but when there was cooperation, Hungarians were better off,” he explained.
“We have succeeded in coming to an agreement regarding natural gas shipments in 2019 and 2020,” PM Orbán said, adding that he asked the Russian president to consider bringing the Turkish Stream to Hungary while constructing the new southern pipeline as it would open up opportunities for the Hungarian economy.
On the expansion of the Paks nuclear plant, the prime minister said that it’s on track and “all necessary corrections have been and are currently being carried out.” Responding to a question, PM Orbán detailed that the increased concern over the Paks project can be explained by the fact that despite being an EU and NATO member, Hungary “is doing this with the Russians.” And it’s not alone in that club.
According to the prime minister, once it’s realized, the Paks project will not only deepen the bond between Hungary and Russia but will also help modernize European-Russian energy policy relations.
PM Orbán praised the positive trends in economic cooperation between the two countries, especially in the field of agriculture, pharmaceuticals and energy. In the banking sector, for example, OTP Bank alone gives jobs to more than 5 thousand Russians.
As another step towards expanding business relations, Prime Minister Orbán signaled to President Putin that Hungary, being its third largest shareholder, is ready to host the headquarters of the International Investment Bank in Budapest.
“Both of us think that it’s important to protect and strengthen Christian culture in the modern world,” the Hungarian premier said, adding that Hungary and Russia will fight shoulder-to-shoulder against the persecution of Christians around the globe.