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The European Union's decision not to grant Georgia candidate status "is unfair", Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister, said on Tuesday, adding that the bloc's credibility was at stake if it failed to grant Georgia candidate status this autumn.

Along with Ukraine and Moldova, Georgia should have been granted this status last year, he said at a joint press conference after meeting Georgian counterpart Ilia Darchiashvili in Budapest. Hungary has assigned an expert on EU integration to Georgia and it is ready to extend it further support, he said. On the topic of energy security and environment protection in central Europe, Szijjártó underscored Georgia’s growing role, noting the Azeri-Georgian-Romanian-Hungarian pact whereby “we will lay the world’s longest underwater electric power cable under the Black Sea”. A feasibility study on the project is expected by early next year, he said.
Szijjártó said he also discussed with Darchiashvili the security situation in connection with the war in Ukraine. Both Hungary and Georgia, he said, were committed to peace and both sought to enforce their national interests, “even under pressure of the liberal mainstream”, he said, referring to the recent expulsion of Georgia’s ambassador from Kyiv. He stated Hungary’s full solidarity with Tbilisi on the matter.