Hungary and Georgia want the international community to step up peace efforts in Ukraine to prevent “even more tragic consequences” of the war, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said after talks with Georgian counterpart Ilia Darchiashvili on Friday. Szijjártó told a joint press conference that the conflict posed “extremely serious challenges and grave security risks” not only to the European Union but to the entire continent, the ministry said in a statement. He said Hungary and Georgia were in agreement on the desirability of an immediate ceasefire and peace talks. “Without peace, the consequences will be even more dire. There may come a time when people not at fault in this war, like Hungarians and Georgians, may have to pay its price,” he said. “We urge the international community to do everything in its power to broker peace, and to avoid all decisions that may prolong this war, the suffering and senseless death of people, and wartime economic conditions,” he said.
Noting that Ukraine and Moldova were recently granted EU membership candidacy, Szijjártó called it “inexplicable, incomprehensible and harmful” that Georgia had not obtained the same status. Georgia “is no less prepared than the other two countries”, he said, adding that such “double standards” were not unknown to member states, “in issues such EU funding being withheld for political reasons”. The requirements set to Georgia were “insubstantial, unclear, senseless in practice, laying the basis for a subjective assessment,” he said. He said Georgia deserved candidacy status, adding that the decision to deny that status “goes against the interests of Hungary and the European Union….” It was also a missed opportunity, he said.
Hungary is ready to send another expert on EU integration to the Georgian foreign ministry, Szijjártó said. As other acts of practical support to the country, he pointed to 16 Hungarians serving in the EU’s observation mission there, including the mission’s deputy head, and Hungary’s support of the EU earmarking 20 million euros of its European Peace Facility to developments in military medicine, cyber security and other goals.
Bilateral trade between Hungary and Georgia jumped by 40% last year, and two-and-a-half-fold so far this year, he said. Hungary also added Georgia to the list of countries allowed to send guest workers to Hungary for fixed-term assignments, he said. Regarding the purchase of natural gas, Szijjártó said that it was a seller’s market. “We are working to guarantee Hungary’s energy supplies under all circumstances, and we don’t want Hungarian families or companies to suffer the indignity of too little gas to satisfy demand,” he said.