In an interview given in English after the talks, the Prime Minister said that Hungary would like to see a fair solution concluding this issue as soon as possible, and it would be fair if the Croatians “get it [INA] back”.
Mr. Orbán underlined that this is a matter of business, which the Hungary does not see as a governmental issue; it supports resolution of the matter as soon as possible, and if the Croatian government does not wish to see MOL in Croatia, Hungary is ready to enter into a fair deal and return its share in INA.
However, he said, the agreement must be fair, and concluded as soon as possible, so that relations at every level can be restored to their previous status, without “this whole poisoning issue”.
The Prime Minister stressed the need to “cool down the mood and find a rational solution”, so that the historically proven policy of living together as good neighbours can resume.
Mr. Orbán said that he and Mr. Plenković had reviewed relations between the two countries, and concluded that in the past few years there have been some highly positive developments. Prime Minister Orbán said that this has been thanks to the Croatian government, which has strongly supported improved bilateral relations – particularly in the area of the economy.
Mr. Orbán observed that economic figures are promising, trade is expanding and Hungarians are also part of the Croatian economy, the growth of which is welcomed by Hungary.
Political relations between the two governments are excellent, the Prime Minister said, adding that historically relations between the two nations have also been excellent, and should not be poisoned by an issue such as the dispute surrounding MOL and INA.
Croatian prime minister Andrej Plenković said that at the meeting they had discussed every item on the agenda relating to the two countries’ relations.
He said that he is satisfied with the volume of trade between the two countries, noting that this year half a million Hungarian tourists spent their summer holidays on the Croatian coast.
Mr. Plenković said that steps are being taken to promote the development of transport options between the two countries and the expansion of energy cooperation. The latter includes construction of a two-way gas supply system between Croatia and Hungary.
Regarding minorities, he stressed that there is cooperation on improving the situation of the Croatian minority in Hungary and the Hungarian minority in Croatia.
He said that the Hungarian state is prepared to support the Croatian government’s aim to repurchase its share in INA from MOL. The political will is now clear, the Croatian prime minister pointed out, but a model has yet to be found which is fair in terms of the Hungarian investments made to date, while also putting a realistic valuation on INA’s shares.
Mr. Plenković said that Croatia would like to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and hopes that Hungary will support this aspiration.
He added that in the future they will be able to eliminate any minor differences that may exist, and to improve relations between Croatia and Hungary – which he described as friendly, neighbourly countries.
He noted that in 2011, as Prime Minister of the country holding the EU Presidency, Viktor Orbán had played a key role in enabling Croatia to conclude its EU accession talks.