Szijjarto attends the meeting of the Hungarian-Serbian Economic Committee

Peter Szijjarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, attended a meeting of the Hungarian-Serbian economic committee in Budapest on Wednesday, and said afterwards that calls by Hungarian leftist politicians to end the modernization of the nuclear power plant of Paks and to stop gas deliveries were “irresponsible”.

“We cannot allow the Hungarians to pay the price of war,” he said.

Such measures would jeopardize the security of energy supply, one of the most important pillars of Hungary’s security, he said.

“I would like to clarify that without the gas deliveries, there will be no heating in Hungary, the industry will stop…without the construction of the nuclear power plant in Hungary, the achievements of the government program of price reduction utilities could not be maintained, and energy prices would skyrocket,” he said.

Szijjarto called the Austrian and Hungarian branches of Sberbank, which ceased operations on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, “the first victims of the European Union’s sanctions policy”.

He described bilateral cooperation with Serbia as an important factor for Hungary’s economic and energy supply security.

Bilateral trade jumped 45% last year to a record 4 billion euros, he said. Meanwhile, Serbia’s GDP grew by 7.5% last year, with significant contributions from Hungarian oil and gas company MOL and OTP bank, Szijjarto added.

Hungary also maintained its economic development plan in Vojvodina, the northernmost region of Serbia with a large ethnic Hungarian population. The Hungarian government has so far supported 14,741 local businesses with a total of 61 billion forints (164.5 million euros), facilitating investments worth a total of 123 billion forints, he said. declared.

Szijjarto pledged to continue this program, if the two incumbent governments remain in power in the next respective elections.

Szijjarto and Andelka Atanaskovic, Serbian Minister of Economy, agreed to modernize the border crossings of Roszke and Tompa to facilitate traffic between the two countries, as well as to allow the transport of goods at the border crossing of Hercegszanto.

At a Hungarian-Serbian business forum held after the meeting, Deputy State Secretary Istvan Joo said that relations between the two countries were based on mutual respect and “recognition by the Serbia that the Hungarian minority is an asset for the development of the country”.

Hungary is the most outspoken advocate of Serbia’s integration into the EU, Joo said. “Our friendship and the development of our economic ties are particularly valuable now,” he said.

Laura T. Thrasher