Hungary supports EU visa liberalisation for Georgia at the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga in May, Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán said after meeting his Georgian counterpart Irakli Garibashvili in Budapest on February 10.
He said that Hungary wants the EU to have a “tailor-made program” for Georgia and visa waiver for Georgia should be “the most important point” of this program.
“We think that the European Union has to give a visa waiver to Georgia,” PM Orbán said. “It would clearly benefit both the Georgian people and the European Union. That’s why Hungary is absolutely supportive of visa waiver for Georgia.”
He also reiterated Hungary’s support to Georgia’s “Euro-Atlantic integration efforts” and its territorial integrity.
The Hungarian PM also spoke about Georgia’s importance as a transit route for energy resources, saying that “importance of Georgia has increased tremendously for Europe” in terms of energy security, especially after developments in Ukraine.
“We are searching for new solutions [for energy supplies and their routes] and no matter of what kind of solution we find, Georgia will be involved in it in one way or the other,” PM Orbán said. “So [Georgia] has a strategic weight and it has increased significantly after the events that took place in recent months. That’s why it’s very difficult to imagine energy security without Georgia playing an important role in it. So as a transit country, it is a very special country and it is extremely important for the Hungarian security too.”
He said that economic cooperation was also discussed at a meeting with his Georgian counterpart and added that Hungary plans to open trade office in Tbilisi in 2015.
Georgia has “wonderful and great history… which requires lots of respect,” PM Orbán said. “Georgia is also a very brave country.”
“If you look at the past fifteen years, which country has introduced all kinds of novelties in economy and politics, you see that those in Georgia were one of the most innovative people,” he said.
The Georgian PM thanked his Hungarian counterpart for his country’s support, including towards Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration and in particular noted Hungary’s contribution with a logistics expert to a NATO team of experts embedded with the Georgian Ministry of Defense. Setting up a NATO core team for defence capacity building is part of substantial package of cooperation offered to Georgia at NATO summit in Wales in September.
Also on February 10, the Georgian PM met Hungarian parliament speaker László Kövér. The Georgian delegation also includes foreign minister Tamar Beruchashvili; energy minister Kakha Kaladze and minister of agriculture Otar Danelia.