Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Budapest on Thursday, where the prime minister said the cooperation between Hungary and Russia was something to be “cherished”.
The leaders concluded that Hungary and Russia are currently being forced to work together in a “difficult international environment”, as anti-Russian policies have become popular in western Europe.
According to MTI, PM Orbán said Hungary had suffered 6.5 billion USD in losses because of the EU sanctions against Russia.
The prime minister said it was wrong to transfer conflicts that are non-economic in nature to the area of the economy, arguing that such problems cannot be resolved through economic means.
“As a result of dedicated work in recent years, when risks were also taken, we have managed to rescue and protect Russian-Hungarian relations as much as possible and we have a good starting position so that when the world returns to the logic of cooperation, the Hungarian economy can start off from a good position in the Russian market,” the prime minister said.
President Putin said that economic cooperation was a priority issue and the construction of two new blocks at the Paks nuclear power plant was high on the agenda. The 12 billion euro investment project will create 10,000 new jobs, he added.
President Putin said that he was in agreement with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán about the need to strengthen cooperation in the fight against international terrorism. “We were in agreement that our efforts need to be unified,” President Putin said.
The President added that he had briefed PM Orbán about Russia’s position in connection with the situation in eastern and south-eastern Ukraine, and also about events in the Middle East.
President Putin expressed hope that resolving the problems in the Middle East would contribute to the easing of Europe’s migration crisis.
Hungary and Russia are due to begin talks on extending gas supply agreements between the two countries beyond 2021, Prime Minister Orbán said..
Regarding the upgrade of Hungary’s sole nuclear power plant in Paks, which is being financed by a loan from Russia, PM Orbán said most obstacles to the nuclear cooperation between the two countries have been cleared.
He insisted that the bilateral agreements on the project were in line with European Union rules. The EU will soon come to a decision on the single remaining open question, on state aid, in connection with the project, he said.
Preparatory works on the upgrade are set to get under way later this year, with the actual implementation of the project scheduled to begin next year, the prime minister said.
President Putin underlined his country’s commitment to supplying gas to Hungary with “100 percent reliability”. He said Moscow had not made it a political goal to stop transmissions of gas through Ukraine. If the route is reliable and it makes economic sense to use it, Russia will supply its gas via Ukraine, he said.
Hungary has the technical means to receive gas through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline via Austria or Slovakia, Putin noted.