Hungary and Uzbekistan will launch large-scale cooperation programmes in the fields of nuclear energy, water management, agriculture and border control, creating opportunities for Hungarian companies in that rapidly developing Central Asian nation, Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s minister of foreign affairs and trade, said in Tashkent on Wednesday.
Uzbekistan has launched ambitious development projects in areas with cutting-edge Hungarian technologies in place, the foreign ministry quoted Szijjártó as saying at a press conference after the seventh session of the two countries’ inter-governmental committee for economic cooperation.
Hungary is set to contribute cooling technology for a new nuclear power plant in the framework of a 300-400 million euro project, as well as help train Uzbek nuclear experts, he said. Hungary has agreed to grant scholarships to 170 Uzbek university and college students, up from one hundred thus far, the minister said. Nuclear energy has a key role to play in Hungary’s secure energy supply, and determining the energy mix is a national competence, Szijjártó said, noting the European Union had consistently declared nuclear energy’s full exemption from sanctions on Russia.
Referring to the Afghan border, the minister said: “Europe has a vital interest in preventing further waves of migration that could promote the spread of terrorism and extremist ideologies.” On this score, he said the European Union should double the amount earmarked for border defence efforts in Central Asia. Concerning water management and agriculture, the minister noted that Turkic Council member states have agreed to establish an institute tasked with preventing drought.
Bilateral trade exceeded 110 million dollars last year and increased by 48% his year, Szijjártó said, adding that Hungary’s Eximbank had opened a 105 million euro credit line to help finance bilateral business cooperation. The two sides have signed a supplementary protocol on the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship programme and a declaration of intent on tourism cooperation. Szijjártó was scheduled to meet his Uzbek counterpart, the deputy prime minister for investments and external economic relations, and the ministers of health, innovative development, higher and secondary education, tourism and cultural heritage later in the day.