Irakli Garibashvili, the prime minister of Georgia, and the premier of Hungary discussed the possibilities of strategic cooperation between their countries in a meeting held in Budapest yesterday. Viktor Orbán stressed at their joint press conference that ‘As Hungary is fighting against inflation, which is partly caused by high energy prices, greater supply is in the country’s best interest as it can bring prices down.’ Hungary has a particular interest in a large-scale new energy cooperation that is already taking shape, the PM said. He explained that there are plans to build a brand-new, massive electrical system that will transmit electricity from Azerbaijan to Hungary via Georgia and Romania. He claimed that by doing this, a sizable portion of the natural gas that Hungary currently uses to generate energy could be replaced, noting that electricity could be obtained directly from the grid.
According to Viktor Orbán, his Georgian counterpart fully supports the initiative. In granting EU candidate status to Moldova and Ukraine but not to Georgia, Brussels made a very bad, discriminatory decision, according to PM Orbán, who added that ‘it is inexplicable, morally reprehensible, and destructive.’ The prime minister of Hungary stated that Brussels’ rejection of Georgia was disrespectful to the Georgian people and nation because Georgia had earned its candidate status with hard work over the previous years. According to the prime minister, Hungary would continue to support granting Georgia candidate status as soon as possible and will send its government experts to help with negotiation preparations. He noted that sixteen Hungarians are currently employed in the European Union’s monitoring mission in Georgia.
More Meetings to Follow
He revealed that they have decided to have a combined government meeting the following year. The joint government meeting would be preceded by a ministerial meeting. The objective is to significantly increase economic cooperation between the two nations.
Despite Hungary and Georgia being geographically far apart, there is a substantial and favourable prejudice in favour of Georgia. Both nations have ‘great cultural traditions and a unique language,’ he said, and they both must maintain their culture and language in a ring of nations that are larger. ‘It is not difficult for Hungarians to understand the main motif of Georgian history, and it is not difficult for Georgians to understand the main motif of Hungarian history,’ he said. ‘Our goal is to prevent the loss of this language and culture’. According to Hungary’s prime minister, the two sides’ stances on geopolitics, war, and peace are extremely similar. ‘We Hungarians demand an immediate ceasefire and peace talks in the Ukraine-Russia war, which is very similar to Georgia’s strategy.’
Georgia to the EU
Irakli Garibashvili stated at the news conference that obtaining EU candidate status and eventually membership in the EU is Georgia’s top priority. The prime minister of Georgia expressed his gratitude for Hungary’s support of his country’s efforts to achieve this objective and to preserve the nation’s territorial integrity. He noted that Georgia is now working on implementing the recommendations of the European Council and that the economy of the nation has consistently delivered a double-digit growth over the years. The Georgian prime minister added that his country would also like to join NATO, pointing out that Georgians had already made considerable sacrifices in the overseas operations of the military alliance, such as in Iraq or Afghanistan.
PM Garibashvili denounced the attack on Ukraine in strong terms, stating that his nation would do everything in its power to help Kyiv. He commended the strategic partnership agreement that Hungary and Georgia signed before the press conference and reaffirmed that Georgia would assist the new energy project, a crucial investment for Hungary. He commended Hungary for providing scholarships to Georgian students attending Hungarian universities, saying that his nation considers the higher education reforms that were successfully implemented in Hungary as a model to follow.