The Prime Minister and Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili have signed a strategic partnership agreement. In their joint press statement, Mr Orbán stressed that only increased supply could bring prices down, something that Hungary had a vested interest in as the country “is fighting against inflation for which high energy prices are responsible to a considerable extent.”
He said “an overarching new energy cooperation scheme is in the making” which the Hungarians have a special interest in. They intend to create an enormous new electricity network which would bring energy from Azerbaijan to Hungary via Georgia and Romania, he explained.
He said with this we would be able to replace a large quantity of natural gas; natural gas that is currently being used in Hungary for the generation of electricity. Instead of this, we could receive electricity directly, he pointed out.
He observed that his Georgian colleague fully supported this programme.
He also highlighted that a very poor, discriminatory decision had been adopted in Brussels when Moldova and Ukraine had been granted EU member candidate status, but the same had not been granted to Georgia. “This is inexplicable, a morally unacceptable and also harmful decision,” he laid down, adding that with the work completed in recent years, Georgia has earned the member candidate status, and Brussels’ refusal is disrespectful to the Georgian people and nation.
Mr Orbán said Hungary continues to support member candidate status being granted to Georgia within the shortest possible time, and will provide experts for its government in order to assist them with the preparations for the negotiations. Sixteen Hungarians are working in the European Union’s monitoring mission, he added.
The Prime Minister said they agreed to hold a joint cabinet meeting in Georgia next year. This will be preceded by a meeting of ministers which will make the necessary preparations for the joint cabinet meeting. With this, they wish to give the two countries’ economic cooperation new impetus, he pointed out.
He also said in Hungary there is a positive bias towards Georgia and while the two countries are situated far from each other geographically, their geopolitical situation has many similarities. “It’s not so hard for a Hungarian to understand the thread of Georgian history, and neither is it hard for a Georgian to understand the thread of Hungarian history” as we are both nations “with great cultural traditions and unique languages”, and we must preserve our culture and languages despite being encircled by a ring of larger nations, he said.
He took the view that “this is our mission, to prevent this culture, this language from being lost”.
The Prime Minister highlighted that our positions regarding geopolitics and the issue of war and peace were very close to each other. “In the Ukrainian-Russian war, we Hungarians want an immediate ceasefire and peace talks, and this is very similar to Georgia’s approach,” Mr Orbán underlined.
Georgia’ most important goal is to obtain candidate status in the European Union, to be followed by membership, Irakli Garibashvili said. The Prime Minister of Georgia expressed his gratitude for Hungary’s support in the attainment of those goals as well as regarding the territorial integrity of his country. He stressed that Georgia was currently in the process of implementing the European Council’s proposals, while their economy was achieving a double-digit growth year after year.
The Georgian Prime Minister further said they would also like to become a member of NATO; for this, already to date, they have made enormous sacrifices in the military organisation’s international missions, including in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr Garibashvili described the war in Ukraine as utterly unacceptable, and his country is supporting Ukraine in every possible way, he added.
He expressed joy in the context of the strategic partnership concluded by the two countries, and also said Georgia will support the energy project that is very important for Hungary. His country will follow Hungary’s example regarding its successful reforms, he added, also thanking the Hungarian government for the Hungarian scholarship grants offered to Georgian university students.