Hungary is ready to strike a “fair deal” to end the “poisonous dispute” surrounding Hungarian oil and gas company MOL and Croatian energy company INA, with a view to reigniting traditionally good Hungary-Croatia relations, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said after talks with his Croatian counterpart. Orban also held meetings with Bosnia Herzegovina and Macedonia’s premiers.
Hungary wants to put this problem behind it as soon as possible, and it would be fair for INA to be returned to the Croatians, Orban said after the talks with Andrej Plenkovic.
He said the Hungarian government regarded the case as a business rather than a government issue. At the same time, it supports a quick resolution, and if the Croatian government does not want MOL in Croatia in the future, then Hungary is ready to make a fair deal and return INA shares in its possession. Orban warned, however, that the agreement must be “fair”.
“I wish to make it as swift as possible, and then to restore relations at all levels,”
– he added. Orban said he and Andrej Plenkovic reviewed their bilateral ties and determined that there had also been positive developments in recent years, mainly in terms of economic cooperation.
“The numbers are promising,” Orban said.
“Trade is expanding and more and more Hungarians are visiting Croatia. This way, we too are a part of Croatia’s economic progress, which is a good thing, and we are very happy about it,”
– the prime minister added. Orban said political relations between the two countries were “excellent”, as was their historical relationship. “And we don’t want to poison this relationship with an issue like the dispute surrounding MOL and INA,” he added.
Plenkovic said the political will was there to end the dispute. But the two countries must also find the right model that is both fair to Hungarian investments that have already been made and values INA’s shares at a realistic price, he added. The prime minister voiced satisfaction with the bilateral trade volume and noted that some 500,000 Hungarian tourists spent their summer holidays on the Adriatic coast this year.
He said Hungary and Croatia would take steps to maximise cross-border transport opportunities and expand energy cooperation, which includes creating the conditions for reverse gas flows. Plenkovic also said the two governments would also work together to improve the situations of Croatian and Hungarian minorities in each other’s countries.
He noted Croatia’s aspirations to join the OECD and expressed hope that Hungary would support its candidacy. Plenkovic said that in 2011, Orban — as prime minister of the holder of the European Union’s rotating presidency — had played a key role in Croatia’s concluding its EU accession talks.
Support to Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration
Hungary is a “committed supporter” of Macedonia’s European and NATO integration, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev during talks in Budapest on Tuesday.
The prime minister’s press office quoted Orban as saying that Hungary would continue its police mission along Macedonia’s southern border to help local authorities stem illegal migration till October next year. The bilateral talks were attended by Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.
Hungary supports activation of NATO membership plan for Bosnia-Herzegovina
Prime Minister Viktor Orban met Denis Zvizdic, his Bosnian counterpart, in Budapest on Tuesday, and voiced Hungary’s support for the activation of NATO’s membership plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The prime minister’s press office said the two leaders noted that bilateral trade had increased by 16 percent in the first eight months of 2017.
The talks also covered possible road and railway projects with a view to improving links between Budapest and Sarajevo. Concerning Hungary’s mission in Bosnia, Orban expressed a commitment to upholding its contribution, which currently stands at 208 troops.
Source and photo: MTI