Ladies and Gentlemen, Honourable Prime Minister,
I echo the words of our host, who has said that Moldovan-Hungarian relations are good and dynamic. If you look through the history books, you won’t find a chapter on Moldovan-Hungarian conflicts, because cooperation between our peoples and countries has always been high, and has been free from any kind of ill feeling or animosity. This is a good basis for the future.
I am grateful to the Prime Minister for including your health minister in his delegation, which meant that we received first-hand information about the coronavirus situation here and the measures you have implemented, and we also spoke about our opportunities for cooperation in defending ourselves against the epidemic.
As regards great geopolitical issues, I’d like to make it clear that on issues of EU integration Hungary has been, and will continue to be, a committed supporter of the Republic of Moldova. We believe that it is not only in your interest – which is a matter for you – but also in the interest of the whole of the European Union to create strategic partnerships with countries such as yours on its Eastern borders, and to keep open the option of European Union membership and economic cooperation. You now have an association agreement, you have a visa-free travel agreement and you also have a free trade agreement. This is all well and good, but there are further opportunities, and Hungary supports you if you want to take advantage of them. Regarding the European Union – in which we have many years’ experience – I can confidently tell you that while it’s not easy to assert a nation’s interests within the EU, it is worth it. So despite all the difficulties, it’s better to be inside the EU than outside it. Therefore I wholeheartedly advise you – as I’ve said to the Prime Minister – to seek opportunities for the closest possible cooperation with the European Union. In this we will be happy to be your partners. We understand the situation of your country. Hungarians’ attitude is that not a single country is able to change its address. Every country is where it is, and must pursue policies which follow logically from its geographical location. Therefore, Honourable Prime Minister, we understand the policies that you are pursuing. For our part we are doing the same – in an environment that is geographically different from yours.
I am delighted to be able to sign this strategic agreement. This reciprocates the visit your President paid to Hungary in 2017, when we started this cooperation. I am delighted that now I can continue this with the Prime Minister. This cooperation, this strategic cooperation, relates to two important issues. First of all, it relates to diplomatic cooperation, meaning that, with the assistance of advisors and experts, Hungary will share with your government its experience in European integration. It also relates to elements of economic cooperation, within which we want to strengthen economic relations. In this respect the joint committee meeting due to be held in May will be important. At that meeting representatives from the two countries will agree on economic issues. We have thanked your government for the assistance it has recently provided for two major Hungarian investments. One of these has been implemented in the banking sector, and the other in the pharmaceutical industry. In these two areas Hungary’s achievements have also been internationally significant. We want to extend cooperation to agriculture, and also to education. We’re working on establishing a joint educational institution which would be able to issue degrees that are valid both here and in Hungary – and therefore also across the European Union. We have not yet clarified the details of this project, but we both intend to go ahead with it. I also informed my counterpart that we have opened a credit line of one hundred million dollars in order to promote Moldovan-Hungarian joint ventures or joint economic activities. We ourselves were once in the situation that you are in now, when a shortage of money was an obstacle to economic growth, and while there was economic activity, there was no financing. Therefore we believe that if we’re able to provide background funding for Moldovan and Hungarian businesses wishing to cooperate with one another, the joint ventures needed by both countries will come into being. We have therefore created this credit line of one hundred million dollars, but I’ve told the Prime Minister that if businesses use up this amount, we are ready to increase it or open further credit lines, according to the needs of the economy.
On the whole, Ladies and Gentlemen, I can say that I had an extremely encouraging meeting with the Prime Minister. We will be able to continue the historical trend which has led to friendship between our two nations. The essence of our foreign policy is to gather friends, and I’m delighted to have Moldova among Hungary’s circle of friends. We would like this friendship to continue for many more decades.
Prime Minister, many thanks for this opportunity.