Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has praised the Bulgarian ethnic minority as “important and valued members of Hungarian society”, after a meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart Ekaterina Zakharieva.
Marking the day of Hungarian-Bulgarian friendship, Minister Szijjártó told MTI that Zakharieva was “an ally and a friend”. Hungary’s Bulgarian minority has parliamentary representation, and their government funding has grown four-fold over the past decade, he said.
The miinister said Hungary and Bulgaria are linked in many ways, noting that Hungarian OTP Bank was the “strongest player on the Bulgarian banking market” and Hungarian discount airline Wizz Air was planning new bases there. Hungary is supporting bilateral commercial cooperation with a 180 million euro credit line, he added.
Regarding cooperation in energy issues, Minister Szijjártó said the TurkStream pipeline, delivering natural gas from Russia via Turkey and Bulgaria, is expected to start operation in 2021. In order to diversify the country’s energy resources, Hungary will cooperate with Bulgaria to buy liquefied natural gas from Greece, he said.
Minister Szijjártó said that both countries were committed to the enlargement of the European Union in the Western Balkans, and saw protection of the bloc’s external borders as key to a successful migration policy. He said that Hungary and Bulgaria also had similar views on the debate on the rule of law, adding that Hungary saw the procedure as a “hypocritical blackmailing mechanism”.
Photo credit: MTI