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Putin pleased with Russia-Hungary relations despite slump in economic contacts

February 17, 2016, 15:32 UTC+3 NOVO-OGARYOVO February, 17. /TASS

The long-term contracts for the supplies of Russian gas to Hungary have been extended until end of 2019

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Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Russian President Vladimir Putin

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Russian President Vladimir Putin

© Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

NOVO-OGARYOVO, February 17. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin is pleased with the quality of relations with Hungary, although he acknowledged a slump in trading and economic contacts.

"We are satisfied, despite certain known problems and a slump in trade. We like the nature of our relations," Putin said at a meeting with Hungary’s visiting Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Wednesday.

Putin described Hungary as an "old-time and reliable partner."

"We do hope that the plans we discussed a year ago during my visit to Hungary will move on and be implemented," he said.

Orban replied that Budapest would "keep striving for the friendliest relations between the Russian and Hungarian peoples."

"On behalf of the Hungarian people I would like to express the best wishes to you and the Russian people and thank for the efforts you have been taking these no easy days in the interests of Russian-Hungarian friendship," Orban said.

Putin empathizes with Hungary’s position in relations with Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin empathizes with Hungary’s position as a member of the European Union in the country’s relations with Russia and calls to boost confidence, he said.

Naturally, Hungary "is committed to the EU common policy on a number of key problematic issues, including in relations with Russia," Putin said.

"We appreciate it," he said.

"In the meantime, bilateral contacts have been developing in spite of a 40% fall (in trade) due to lower prices of oil products. Although expressed in physical terms, the amounts of oil products and gas have increased."

"For enhancing economic relations in a whole range of spheres, - Mr. Prime Minister was speaking about it today - we should boost confidence in each other and such confidence is on the rise," he said.

"Humanitarian contacts are facilitating to do so both in the sphere of education and in the sphere of culture. So the process to develop bilateral ties is absolutely evident."

Russia’s president said that his country and Hungary had begun to develop relations in other spheres.

"We have discussed possible new steps not only in the metallurgical sector but in the machine-building and transport machine-building," Putin said.

Contracts for supplies of Russian gas to Hungary extended until end of 2019

The long-term contracts for the supplies of Russian gas to Hungary have been extended until end of 2019, according to the documents prepared for the meeting of Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orban. According to the documents, energy remains the key area of the bilateral interaction. Russian oil and gas imports account for three fourth of energy resources consumed in Hungary.

Hungarian companies may participate in construction of facilities for World Cup in Russia

The documents also imply that Hungarian companies may participate in the construction of facilities for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

"Possible participation of Hungarian companies in construction of infrastructure for the World Cup is being discussed now," the document said.

According to the documents for the meeting, the volume of accumulated Russian investments in the Hungarian economy is $ 1.5 billion, the volume of Hungarian investments into the Russian economy is $2 billion.

The largest Hungarian investors in the Russian economy are the OTP Bank, the Gedeon Richter pharmaceutical company, the MOL oil and gas concern.

By the end of 2015, the bilateral trade turnover decreased by 40% to $ 4.7 billion. Over the last two years the turnover decreased by almost 50%.

Putin admits he likes Hungary’s position regarding refugees from Middle East to Europe

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he understands the views of Hungary, which coincide with the common European views, on the settlement in the Middle East.

"We voiced our considerations regarding the causes of the crisis [with refugees in Europe], it seems to me that our visions largely coincide," Putin told journalists after talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Speaking of the problem of refugees, the Russian president called it "an internal problem of the EU."

"We [Russia] do not interfere in these issues, we know that relevant discussions on the problem are being held inside the European Union itself," Putin said.

He admitted that "the position of Hungary and its prime minister, which is to defend European identity, the identity of one’s country and people, is likable to us."

"As regards many other aspects connected with political settlement in the Middle East, with military operations conducted there, Mr. Prime Minister [of Hungary] sticks to the position formulated by the European Union on the whole, and we treat that with understanding," Putin said.

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