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Viktor Orbán Calls for Energy Diversification

The long-term solution to the energy crisis is to bring as much energy as possible to the European continent from as many directions as possible, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Thursday in Budapest, where he met with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. The two leaders signed a strategic partnership agreement.

In a joint press statement, Orbán stressed that increased supply in the energy sector can drive down prices, which is in Hungary’s vital interest as the country “is fighting inflation, which is largely due to high energy prices.”

He said that “a major new energy cooperation is taking shape,” in which Hungarians have a special interest. They want to create a new, huge electricity pipeline system to bring energy from Azerbaijan to Hungary via Georgia and Romania, he explained.

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Orbán said that this would allow them to replace large quantities of natural gas, gas that is currently used to generate electricity in Hungary. Instead, they could receive this electricity directly, he pointed out. He noted that his Georgian counterpart fully supports this program.

The Hungarian Prime Minister also said that a very bad, discriminatory decision was made in Brussels when Moldova and Ukraine were granted EU candidate status, but Georgia was not. “This is an inexplicable, morally unacceptable, and damaging decision,” he said. He added that

Georgia had earned the candidate status through its hard work over the past years and that Brussels’ rejection was disrespectful to the Georgian people and nation.

Orbán stated that Hungary would continue to support the granting of candidate status to Georgia as quickly as possible, and would provide its government with experts to help it prepare for the negotiations.

The Hungarian Prime Minister said that they had agreed to hold a joint government meeting in Georgia next year, which will be preceded by a meeting of sectoral ministers to prepare for the joint meeting. He said that they wanted to give a big boost to economic cooperation between the two countries.

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He stressed that their positions are very close when it comes to geopolitics, war, and peace. “We Hungarians want an immediate ceasefire and peace negotiations as soon as possible in the Ukrainian-Russian war, and this is very similar to the Georgian approach,” Orbán said.

Georgia’s main objective is to become a candidate country for EU membership and then to become a member, Irakli Garibashvili told a press conference. The Georgian Prime Minister expressed his gratitude for Hungary’s support in achieving this goal and for its support for the territorial integrity of his country. He stressed that

Georgia is currently working on the implementation of the European Council’s proposals and that its economy is growing at double-digit rates year after year.

The Georgian Prime Minister also said that they would like to become a member of NATO, for which they have already made huge sacrifices in the military organization’s international engagements, including in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Irakli Garibashvili condemned the war in Ukraine as totally unacceptable, and stressed that his country supports Ukraine in every possible way.

He welcomed the strategic partnership between the two countries and said Georgia would support the energy project, which is very important for Hungary. He added that his country was taking examples from successful reforms in Hungary and thanked Georgia for the scholarships for Georgian university students in Hungary.

Featured photo via MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Benko Vivien Cher

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