The foreign minister said that despite having encountered a variety of obstacles, Hungary and the United Arab Emirates have strengthened their cooperation recently.
Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, recently paid a visit to Abu Dhabi where he held talks with the foreign minister, the minister of industry and advanced technology, the minister of energy and infrastructure, the minister of state for food and water security and the minister of state for foreign trade.
Speaking to MTI about his talks, Minister Szijjártó said trade turnover between the two countries increased by 14 percent in the first six months of the year, reaching 160 million dollars after growing by 37 percent in 2019. Hungary and the UAE have signed several agreements that will further boost bilateral cooperation and give more Hungarian businesses the chance to enter the country’s market, he said.
The most important agreement will see Hungarian lighting company Tungsram establish a subsidiary in Abu Dhabi and build a 4 million dollar plant with support from the Hungarian government, the minister said. Tungsram has already been contracted by several cities in the UAE to modernise the public lighting system, he said, adding that the company’s new plant could help increase its presence on the local market.
Hungary and the UAE have also agreed to set up a joint business council with participation from companies doing business in the two countries, Szijjártó said. Hungary’s Eximbank has opened a 725 million dollar credit line to help fund joint projects between Hungarian and UAE-based firms, he added.
Another agreement will see the resumption of cargo flights between Hungary and the UAE, with flight crews allowed entry into each other’s countries, he said.
The two countries have also agreed to take into consideration the European Union’s recommendation when signing an investment protection agreement that will ensure a secure legal environment for the companies concerned, Minister Szijjártó said.
The minister also said that Hungarian oil and gas company MOL was looking to break into the UAE’s energy market with unique technology. Demand for the technology would be guaranteed, Minister Szijjártó said, noting that the UAE was looking to increase the efficiency of the extraction of oil fields. Also, the UAE has recently discovered the world’s fourth largest gas field which it expects to start extracting soon, he added.
On another subject, Minister Szijjártó noted that the UAE last month started up the Arab world’s first nuclear power plant, saying that Hungary’s more than 30 years of experience with nuclear power and safety would provide a sound basis for advancing energy cooperation between the two countries.
Minister Szijjártó also highlighted the role of the UAE in the Middle East peace process, noting that the country recently agreed to normalise its diplomatic ties with Israel. This is “very good news” for Hungary, he said, arguing that the more peaceful and stable the region was, the less likely Europe was to come under pressure from migrants fleeing the area.
Photo credit: Origo