Foreign minister calls for Georgia to be granted EU 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. Georgia, he added, was doing no worse than either Ukraine or Moldova in meeting EU expectations, adding that the related decision had been “political, not professional”.
Hungary has assigned an expert on EU integration to Georgia and it is ready to extend it further support, he said.
The government prioritises cooperation with the Caucasian region, he said, noting a joint government meeting in Georgia set for October in which pacts on investment protection, cooperation in higher education, vocational training and scholarships will be on the agenda.
On the topic of energy security and environment protection in central Europe, Szijjarto underscored Georgia’s growing role, noting the Azeri-Georgian-Romanian-Hungarian pact concluded at the end of last year whereby “we will lay the world’s longest underwater electric power cable under the Black Sea”.
A feasibility study on the project is expected to be prepared by early next year, he said, adding that the sides agreed on setting up a joint venture and a management board. A ministerial committee is scheduled to meet in Budapest in November, he added.
Szijjarto said he also discussed with Darchiashvili the security situation in connection with the war in Ukraine and, in that context, Georgia’s EU candidacy. 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”.
Szijjarto said they agreed that “this war must be ended through negotiations and efforts must be taken to isolate rather than expand it globally”. “Those who openly advocate peace in international politics face very serious pressure”, he said, referring to the recent expulsion of Georgia’s ambassador from Kyiv. He stated Hungary’s full solidarity with Tbilisi on the matter.
Answering a question, Szijjarto cautioned that if the EU was unable to make progress in its enlargement policy, it would further weaken and lose its weight in global politics as well as its competitiveness.