Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - Photo: PMO

Orbán: Energy from Central Asia needed in Europe

Visiting Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Friday highlighted the need for Europe to receive energy from Central Asia, "and we need new sources, routes and infrastructure for this". Orbán said in a statement that relations between Turkmenistan and Hungary were "predictable, reliable and based on mutual respect", and Hungary wanted to "broaden and deepen cooperation between the two countries".
9. June 2023 17:47

Referring to the war in Ukraine, he said Turkmenistan, like Hungary, was “pro-peace” and “making efforts to resolve this conflict as soon as possible”.

The current world state of affairs, he said, had “upended traditional economic relations” and “could very well usher in a new world economic era”. Such changes “boost the value of the central Asian region from our point of view and from the European perspective”.

Orbán said traditional east-west supply routes had broken down. “We must seek out new routes and new partners,” he said, adding that the central Asian region could end up as the bridge between East and West.

Turkmenistan, he said, may be “a great partner” for Europe and Hungary in this, adding that the country could make “a major contribution to the diversification of our energy supply”, though this, he added, would not be easy because complex infrastructure and transport issues must be resolved first, and doing so was beyond the competence of the two countries alone.

“So we’re interested in quickly resolving open issues around the Caspian Sea,” he said.

“We encourage and urge European Union institutions to make sure that the partnership and cooperation agreement signed with Turkmenistan 25 years ago enters into force … When Europe cuts itself off from Russian energy sources, it can’t afford not to sign a partnership agreement that is in Europe’s vital economic interest,” he said in the statement.

The prime minister said Hungary had an outsized role in supplying medicine to Turkmenistan, and an opportunity for cooperation in the water industry and energy cooperation also beckoned. Both sides are proposing new economic areas of cooperation, he added.

In addition, Orbán called for Hungarian language tuition in Turkmenistan and a deepening of political and economic ties in line with the countries’ “historical kinship”.

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