Hungarian-Russian relations are now back on track after a decline caused by the international sanctions imposed on Moscow, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said after a meeting of the Hungary-Russia intergovernmental economic cooperation committee in Budapest. Though western European countries today are still concluding far more lucrative deals with Russia, relations between Budapest and Moscow are fast expanding in line with Hungary’s interests, Szijjártó said. After declining for several years, trade between the countries jumped by 17% in the first eight months of 2018, Szijjártó noted. Sanctions against Russia have cost Hungary 7 billion euros in lost exports, but Hungarian companies’ activities in Russia may compensate for that, he said. As an example, the minister noted that Hungarian oil and gas company MOL’s investments in Russia have surpassed 1.3 billion euros, and a Russian-Hungarian consortium won a 1 billion euro tender for machine production in Egypt. Hungary sees Russia as an important partner, he said. It strikes the balance between heeding its importance while complying with its obligations in respect of EU unity, he added.
Meanwhile, Szijjártó said Hungary will re-join the International Bank for Economic Cooperation (IBEC), Szijjártó said. The headquarters of the International Investment Bank (IIB) will move to Hungary in early 2019, he said, further strengthening the country’s economic position.
Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said that cooperation should continue to boost investment and trade. Russia remains a reliable source of energy and partner, she said. The committee has also signed a cooperation agreement on setting up a Russian-Hungarian oncology institute in Budapest, which will further strengthen the countries’ ties in health care, she said. A new working group will also be set up to promote cooperation in machine production for helicopter, ship and farm machinery production, she said. After the meeting, the two countries signed an intergovernmental agreement on the mutual recognition of academic qualifications awarded in Hungary and Russia.