Azeri gas key to European energy security

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It is in the strategic interest of Europe that gas from Azerbaijan reaches its Central and Eastern region, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Tuesday following talks with Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

After signing a joint declaration on strategic partnership between the two countries, the Hungarian Prime Minister stated that current contracts only guarantee the delivery of Azeri energy to Southern Europe.

"Our job in the coming years is to create the conditions for Azeri gas to come up from the south to Central Europe, too," he said.

The only way to succeed is for neighbouring states to link up their pipeline networks, the Prime Minister said, adding that member states of the European Union should form a common energy market.

Prime Minister Orbán called Hungary a "model state and a fair and correct partner," since Hungary can supply energy to every neighbouring country from where it receives energy. "We are unique in this respect in the region," he said.

The Hungarian-Azeri strategic partnership serves the interests not only of Hungary but of the EU as well, since the EU and Azerbaijan had already concluded a partnership and cooperation agreement in 1996, he stated.

Mr. Orbán called Azerbaijan a bridge between Europe and Asia and a model concerning how an economic system can be built on the energy sector that then trickles down to other sectors.

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said the outlook for cooperation in the energy sector appeared good. His country represents a new source of energy for Europe and has a need for the European market, he emphasised, adding that its huge oil and gas resources would be delivered to Europe via the Southern pipeline.

Mr. Aliyev emphasized that bilateral economic relations are developing fast. Business interest was exceptionally great and there were good opportunities for mutual investment and cooperation, he added. He welcomed the presence of Hungarian companies on the Azeri market, mainly in agriculture, water management and infrastructure development.

At the press event, eight documents were signed between Hungary and Azerbaijan. These included agreements on air transport and tourism, cooperation between Budapest and Baku and a letter of intent on animal health cooperation. An agreement on innovative strategies, two further ones on cooperation in youth and sports and education projects were also signed.

(Prime Minister's Office, MTI)

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