Speaking at the cornerstone ceremony of Hungarian-owned UBM Group’s feed mixing plant in Adaševci, in Vojvodina, Serbia, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that when the government represented Hungary’s energy supply interests in Brussels, “we also represent Serbia’s interests”. The minister said the facts on the ground of the region’s energy infrastructure and the natural gas sources available dictated that natural gas and oil from Russia “are dominant in our region”. “This is the reason why we can’t adopt measures that would place a disproportionate burden on Hungary,” he said.
Minister Szijjártó said the past two years had been arduous for the region, with health difficulties, the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis to deal with, now compounded by war in the neighborhood. “We’re confronting challenges that our generation had never faced and we thought we’d never face,” he said. Hungarians, he added, wanted peace, not war, and the Serbs could relate to that. Both peoples showed the world “how to make peace … and how to treat ethnic national communities as a resource rather than a source of conflict.” Both countries and their economies “benefit greatly from this historic peace,” he said, adding that both enhanced the other’s security of energy supply. Investments by Hungary’s largest companies helped Serbia to achieve record growth last year, he added.
Hungary-Serbia relations are “a success story that can be held as an example to other countries,” he said. Hungary has provided support to more than 14,000 companies under the Vojvodina Economic Development Programme, he noted, adding: “We are proud that trade turnover between the two countries last year hit a record 4 billion euros.”
The Adaševci investment of HUF 9.3 billion is backed by Hungarian government support of HUF 2.3 billion, and the company’s production capacity will exceed 1 million tons each year as a result. Also, together with Serbian suppliers, hundreds of new jobs will be created, he said. The security of food and energy supplies, he said, were vitally important in today’s uncertain world, and he noted measures the government has taken to ensure Hungary’s energy and food security such as export controls on grain and priority given to agricultural and food companies.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić thanked Hungary for its support, adding that Serbia had not blocked any Hungarian investments ever since Hungary’s programme in Vojvodina began seven years ago. He said Hungary stood by Serbia, and Serbia would do the same for its Hungarian ally.
Photo credit: Facebook/Szijjártó Péter