Foreign Minister champions Hungary-Romania ties

Minister Szijjártó said current good cooperation between Hungary and Romania would ensure Hungary’s gas supplies, noting that Romania will transit gas from Azerbaijan.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said Romania will not only be seen as a transit route for natural gas but also as a country of origin, and Hungary wants a decision on the extraction of the Black Sea fields to be made as soon as possible.

Speaking in Bucharest on Tuesday, Minister Szijjártó said current good cooperation between Hungary and Romania would ensure Hungary’s gas supplies, noting that Romania will transit gas from Azerbaijan. The Hungary-Romania interconnector now has a capacity of 2.5 billion cubic metres, and Hungary is planning to import two billion cubic metres per annum, he added. The Romanian government has passed a decision to link its gas resources at the Black Sea with the country’s distribution centre “from which there is already a pipeline to Hungary”, he said. “It is in our interest that Romania should pass a decision allowing Black Sea gas to reach Hungary as soon as possible,” he said.

On another note, Minister Szijjártó said the ethnic Hungarian RMDSZ party’s being part of the Romanian government had contributed to the development of Hungarian-Romanian cooperation “in a number of areas”. He welcomed that Romanian leaders appreciated that party and its politicians. Romania’s Hungarian community is “an asset, a bridge continuously helping us in efforts to improve cooperation between Hungary and Romania,” Szijjártó said. He mentioned sports, environment protection, and European Union developments as areas in which ethnic Hungarian ministers had played key roles. Continuous improvement of bilateral cooperation is in Hungary’s key strategic interest, the minister said, noting close business ties and those of energy security. The turnover of bilateral trade with Romania reached a record of 12 billion euros last year, while Romania has now become Hungary’s third largest export market, Minister Szijjártó said, noting the importance of continued development of transport routes.

The foreign minister added that an agreement has been made to complete the fourth motorway between Hungary and Romania in 2030. The planned motorway is part of an earlier agreement to build motorways linking the two countries every five years, Szijjártó said in a joint statement with Sorin Mihai Grindeanu, Romania’s deputy prime minister. “We succeeded in 2015 and in 2020, and another success is being readied for 2025 to link the M3 motorway in Hungary with the road network around Satu Mare (Szatmárnémeti),” he said. “Today we sealed the next success, for 2030, agreeing on a fourth motorway link,” he added. The motorway between Budapest and Békéscsaba will be extended to the border, creating a link to the Romanian motorway network south of Salonta (Nagyszalonta), Szijjártó said. A border crossing point has been agreed upon and the people of Méhkerék, in south-east Hungary, are making preparations, he said. Developing cooperation between Hungary and Romania is a priority strategic interest both to serve the ethnic Hungarian community and to broaden economic relations, he added. Szijjártó said that bilateral trade exceeded 12 billion euros last year, a record-breaking figure, making Romania Hungary’s third largest export market. “Developing cooperation is unimaginable without developing physical links between the two countries,” he added. Grindeanu thanked Hungary for its support for Romania’s Schengen accession process. Commenting on the planned construction of a crossing station at the Hungarian-Romanian-Serbian triple border, he said the local authorities of Beba Veche (Obeba) supported the project.