Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Trieste port set to start operating in 2026

Hungary has signed a 45 million euro agreement clearing the way for the start of development work on a port the country is establishing in Trieste, with a view to making it operational by 2026, the minister of foreign affairs and trade said in Rome on Wednesday.

Hungary purchased the plot to give Hungarian businesses quicker and easier access to sea ports, the foreign ministry cited Peter Szijjarto as saying after talks with Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini. Hungary presented its development plan to establish a port capable of handling 2.5 million tonnes of goods a year, Szijjarto said.

Hungary aims to make Trieste one of central Europe’s most important ports through the joint development programme, the minister added.

Szijjarto praised Salvini, saying that “Europe still has politicians in leadership positions who are sober-minded when it comes to migration”. He said Salvini knew what it was like “when someone puts the protection of their country’s and Europe’s security over liberal hypocrisy”.

He said that like the Hungarian government, Salvini saw the security risks posed by immigration and had the courage to speak out against it. “It’s important for the voices speaking out against illegal migration to become one and as loud as possible, and to force Brussels to stop supporting migration,” Szijjarto said.

The minister said Hungary was under pressure both from the constant flow of refugees from Ukraine and “the illegal migrants keeping the southern border under siege”. The Hungarian authorities have prevented 225,000 people from crossing the country’s border illegally so far this year, he said, adding that criminal proceedings were under way against more than 1,500 people smugglers who had fired on police officers.

Migration should be stopped rather than managed, Szijjarto said, adding that if Brussels refused to change its “pro-migration policy”, Hungary could expect even greater pressure on its southern border, with the number of illegal entry attempts potentially exceeding the numbers seen in 2015.

Regarding economic ties, Szijjarto said cooperation with Italy, one of the world’s most developed economies, could help Hungary avoid recession.

Italian businesses make up the ninth largest investor community in Hungary, Szijjarto said. Italy is Hungary’s fourth biggest trading partner, with bilateral trade turnover reaching a record 12 billion euros last year, and expected to increase by 20-25 percent this year, he added.

Szijjarto is scheduled to meet Italy’s ministers for economic development and energy later in the day. He will also meet the head of the United Nations’ World Food Programme and the head of the Italian space agency, with whom he will sign a memorandum of understanding on the peaceful use of space.

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