The Prime Minister of Hungary arrived in Moscow for a short working visit at Vladimir Putin’s invitation.
Beginning of meeting with Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, we agreed to meet a long time ago. I am very glad that you finally took advantage of this invitation to come to Moscow.
Without a doubt Hungary is our priority partner in Central Europe, and I am very pleased to note that our relations are developing in almost all areas. No doubt, the most important of these is economic cooperation. Russia has a steady position as Hungary’s second-largest trading partner, following the Federal Republic of Germany. Our trade amounted to more than $11 billion in 2011 and I think that once the final calculations are in, it will be about the same in 2012.
Our respective levels of investment are approximately equal: Russia has $3 billion invested in Hungary’s economy and Hungarian aggregate investments in Russia are about $2 billion. However, these investments have not increased or have increased only very slowly over the past three years. This is also one of our discussion topics today.
Russia plays an important role with regards to Hungary's energy supply. This applies to hydrocarbons – oil and gas – and electricity too. And our companies are ready to take part in upgrading existing power plants and building new ones. We supply a significant amount of nuclear fuel to Hungarian power plants, plant which was built in Soviet times with our country’s assistance and which meets I think about 40 percent of Hungary’s electricity demand.
In turn, a number of Hungarian companies, particularly pharmaceutical companies, are working very actively and expanding their presence on the Russian market. One such company recently built a pharmaceutical factory in Moscow Region. Almost all Hungarian pharmaceutical companies are represented in Russia.
We have set out very good relations in the humanitarian sphere. We see that Hungary supports Russian language and our student exchanges continue. Last year one of the alleyways in Budapest’s main park was named after Leo Tolstoy. Of course we noticed this and it is very nice. We want to thank you and Budapest’s authorities for that. All this suggests that our relationship is taking on a very different character from what it was in previous decades. It is becoming transparent and friendly, based on our pragmatic interests taking those interests into account.
We are grateful to you for supporting South Stream. I would note that the total investment into Hungary’s economy linked to this project’s implementation will amount to approximately 610 million euros. The project will certainly generate additional revenue for Hungary’s budget via transit payments. It will also improve your country’s gas supply.
We have been waiting for you in Moscow for a long time now and looking forward to your arrival. Welcome.
Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban (retranslated): Mr President,
Let me pass on the gratitude and best wishes of the Hungarian people.
We Hungarians have no doubts about how important it is to have a partner like Russia. We understand Russia’s authority and its significance. However, the respect and recognition we have for Russia is above all respect for your culture. And it is this appreciation of Russia’s cultural heritage that constitutes an excellent foundation for the development of our economic relations.
We believe that Russia is a great power. We assume that it has not only a great past, but also a great future. So one of Hungary’s primordial, obvious interests is to support fruitful and close cooperation with Russia.
Now I have come to Moscow to discuss life in the aftermath of the crisis. It is obvious that after the financial crisis ends, Russia will play a special role. This is precisely the reason we would like to prepare for this new era of good Russian-Hungarian relations.
We would like to support Russia’s investment activity in Hungary. We would particularly like to keep up our energy dialogue. We hope that Russia will provide significant help as we expand our energy system, including through the use of world-class technology.
In addition, we hope that Hungary will be ready to export to Russia goods that correspond to its growing needs. And we are happy to note that Russia encourages the activities of Hungarian exporters and their increase. We will try to increase our exports to the appropriate volumes.
In general, we believe that new perspectives for our cooperation are opening up. And along with this Hungary realistically assesses its influence potential.
I think that you know the alliances and treaty commitments we have made. Hungary is a member of the European Union, and we think that this increases its value as a partner for Russia. We would like to maintain partnership relations with the great Russia as a stable European country. And we are ready for a frank discussion of all issues and to reach the appropriate agreements.
Thank you, Mr President, for your hospitality.
Vladimir Putin: You mentioned cultural cooperation and there is something that unites us especially in this sense. Some of Russia’s multiple nationalities belong to the Finno-Ugric culture and language group. We actively cooperate in this area. I think that today we will also have the opportunity and the need to talk about this.