Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said Hungary and Moldova, both neighbors of Ukraine, want a quick end to the war as its direct consequences on both “are extremely serious”.
“Neither country bears responsibility for this war whatsoever, yet both Moldovans and Hungarians have paid the price for more than a year and a half,” Minister Szijjártó said on Wednesday at a joint press conference with Moldova’s deputy prime minister, Dumitru Alaiba. Both countries have taken in a large number of refugees and are contending with the challenges of skyrocketing energy prices and inflation generated externally. He said the current challenges increased the importance of economic cooperation, and he noted last year’s record bilateral trade turnover of 190 million euros. Hungarian investors, he added, found the Moldovan market attractive and its government “fair”. OTP Bank occupies a leading position in the local banking market and has recently invested around 30 million euros on improving the quality of its services, he said. The bank also enhances the safe operation of other Hungarian companies in Moldova, with Hungarian exports focused on pharmaceutical products and animal feed.
The minister pledged Hungary’s continued support for Moldova’s efforts to become a European Union candidate for membership, adding that its accession would bolster the community. When a decision is taken this year on which countries can begin real accession negotiations, evaluations of each state should be made separately so that none is “trapped”, he said. “We don’t want Moldova’s accession process dependent on the speed at which Ukraine advances in the integration process,” Minister Szijjártó said. Moldova’s European integration, he added, was progressing at a good pace. He noted that the war in Ukraine was putting Moldova under great strain on the logistics, transport and trade fronts and Hungary supports the country’s full EU customs exemption until which time the war ends.