Prime Ministers Orbán and Boris Johnson: Energy and defense cooperation take center stage

While Hungary’s relationship with the United Kingdom developed during the years that the UK was part of the European Union, that era is now over, and with Brexit behind us, we must seek new forms of cooperation.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán met his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, yesterday in London, where the two premiers discussed the future of bilateral relations between Hungary and the United Kingdom following the British departure from the European Union.

In a press conference following the meeting, PM Orbán said that besides bilateral talks, they also discussed possible avenues for a UK cooperation with the Visegrád Four.

According to Prime Minister Orbán, energy and defense policy will serve as a common denominator in Hungarian-British affairs in the coming years. “We did not dwell on the memories of Brexit; what’s happened, has happened. What we are seeking now are ways for Hungarians and Brits to cooperate in the post-Brexit era,” PM Orbán said in a video posted to his Facebook page.

Referring to fruitful cooperation in the past, Prime Minister Orbán stressed that Shell, a British-Dutch multinational company, was the first non-Russian energy firm to agree to a long-term gas supply contract with Hungary. The prime minister said that energy and defense industry cooperation between the two countries will take center stage in the years to come.

Responding to a question about the possible easing of travel restrictions between the United Kingdom and Hungary, PM Orbán said that it was up to the British government. “[In terms of COVID-19 vaccinations in Europe], Great Britain is in first place, while we have a silver medal, which is not so bad in this competition,” the PM said.

“In Hungary, people are able to live a bit more freely than here, if I understand the current situation in London correctly,” Prime Minister Orbán said, adding that he hopes that sooner or later the foreign ministers can reach an agreement on accepting each other’s immunity certificates.