Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said in Tbilisi on Thursday that the European Union must grant candidate status to Georgia as soon as possible.
Minister Szijjártó argued that it would be important to accelerate the enlargement process as it would provide new impetus and positive energy to the EU, the ministry said in a statement. “This could primarily come from countries that wish to be EU members and are developing rapidly, they want to reach the level of development of the EU … Georgia is typically such a country,” he said. Minister Szijjártó said Georgia was in no worse condition than either Ukraine or Moldova, which was why it also deserved candidate status for membership. Hungary will therefore continue to support this, as it will also support Georgia to move forward as quickly as possible during the accession negotiations, he added. Minister Szijjártó highlighted the importance of energy cooperation, saying that just as in the period of fossil energy, the EU would need external sources for its energy supply for an environmentally friendly and sustainable transition. The Caucasus will be such an external source, where large amounts of green energy will be produced, he said, adding that the appropriate infrastructure will have to be created to transport it to the EU. He noted that an agreement was signed last year by Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary to build the world’s longest underwater power transmission line to deliver energy generated in the two countries of the southern Caucasus to Europe via Romania and Hungary. Szijjártó also spoke about economic cooperation and the opportunities for exports of Hungarian water management technologies to Georgia. Finally, he talked about the shared Christian heritage of the two countries. “These are two countries that keep to their Christian traditions and heritage. Two countries that are not afraid to take this on in international politics,” he said. Minister Szijjártó said he was going to sign two agreements soon, one on extending by three years a programme of 80 scholarships per year for Georgian students at Hungarian universities, and another on sustainable urban development and sharing of technologies.