Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - Photo: PMO

Orbán: Hungary committed supporter of Georgia EU membership

Hungary strongly supports Georgia's EU membership which is also in the interest of Europe, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told a press conference in Telavi, after a joint Hungarian-Georgian cabinet meeting in the city on Thursday.

Orbán highlighted Georgia’s centuries-long fight for Christianity, and its “fantastic” development in recent years.

The prime minister said that the global situation had “never been as bad in the past 30 years” but added that both Hungary and Georgia shared the view that “peace is better than war”.

Each international conflict should be concluded with peace as soon as possible, but “the world is far from that”, he said.

Hungary supports granting Georgia an EU candidate status because it deems that to be just, Orbán said, adding that in order for maintaining its competitiveness, Europe would need such a fast developing country as Georgia.

Orbán said the European Union’s competitiveness had been saved through the accession of central European countries, which he said was “proof that if Europe rejects peoples willing to work and develop, it will pay through losing its competitiveness”.

Connecting the EU with the Caucasian region is in the interest in Europe, and “linking up with Georgia is the easiest way in that,” Orbán said. “That is why we were extremely sad, even angry, when we saw that Georgia was rejected a candidate member status, whereas countries obviously far behind Georgia in terms of development had been granted that status,” he said.

The European Union should decide if enlargement is “conditional on political merits” . if so, Georgia’s treatment has not been fair and “should be remedied without delay,” he said.

On another subject, Orbán said Europe’s energy system could not be modernised without involving Georgia, adding that building an Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania-Hungary green energy corridor was crucial for the EU, too. That project will contribute to each participant’s economic growth, he added.

Meanwhile, Orbán said bilateral agreements had been signed on cooperation in the areas of agriculture, water management, pharmaceuticals, finance and economy.

The “deepest foundation” of the friendship of Hungary and Georgia is their Christian traditions, he said. Preserving Christian traditions is a precondition for Europe’s competitiveness, he added.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said Thursday’s joint cabinet meeting was “of historic importance” in bilateral ties. He expressed thanks for Hungary’s government “being a true friend of Georgia” and for supporting his country’s territorial integrity and EU integration.

“Our countries share traditional and everlasting values,” Garibashvili said and thanked the Hungarian prime minister for contributing to the protection of those values.

“Hungarians are lucky that in such hard times they have such a strong and patriotic leader that serves the interests of his people only,” he added.

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