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Putin heads to Hungary to discuss economic ties, situation in Ukraine

February 02, 1:27 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to the Kremlin press service, "advancing major joint projects in trade and economic sector and the strengthening of cultural and humanitarian ties" will be top on the agenda

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MOSCOW, February 2. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit on Thursday Budapest for talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Russian president’s aide Yuri Ushakov said Putin and Orban have already met six times, traditionally in February. He said the program of the current visit includes talks in a narrow format, talks with the participation of the delegations, a joint news conference and a lunch.

Russia’s minister of industry and trade, energy minister, minister of economic development, healthcare minister as well as the head of Rosatom state-run nuclear corporation will take part in the talks.

According to the Kremlin press service, "advancing major joint projects in trade and economic sector and the strengthening of cultural and humanitarian ties" will be top on the agenda.

Ushakov said that due to anti-Russian sanctions imposed over Ukraine and global instability, trade between the two countries declined by half, to $3.9 billion in January-November 2016.

A negative trend is also fixed in investment sector, last year mutual investment dropped by half. "This situation in economic cooperation causes concerns in Budapest and in Moscow, of course the sides are not satisfied with this state of affairs, and some measures to optimize trade-economic cooperation and investment cooperation will be considered and maybe charted," Ushakov said.

As for particular sectors, he said Hungary could join in the future the Nord Stream and TurkStream projects of Russia’s gas giant Gazprom. Speaking about cooperation in nuclear power industry, Ushakov said Hungary had pledged problems with the construction by Russia of new nuclear units at the Paks Nuclear Power Plant could be settled.

"The sides will continue boosting joint work in the energy sector and within this context we put much emphasis on the project to build two new nuclear power plant units at Paks, implemented by Rosatom. The project is estimated at 12 billion euro," he said.

Among other issues, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban will discuss deliveries of railcars to Egypt by a Russian-Hungarian company. "In particular, Russia and Hungary are planning now to implement large-scale supplies of railcars to Egypt. This issue will also be discussed," Ushakov said.

Production of buses and railcars, upgrade of rolling stock of the Budapest subway and cooperation in the field of pharmaceuticals will also be discussed by heads of states, Ushakov said.

Leaders of Russia and Hungary will also discuss settlement of the debt of bankrupt Malev airline to Russia’s Vnesheconombank, the official said.

The Russian president and the Hungarian prime minister will also focus on international problems, including the Middle East, Syria and Ukraine in view of the latest developments around Avdeevka.

According to the Kremlin aide, the two leaders will also exchange views on the European and global agenda. "In particular, issues related to restoring relations between Russia and the European Union (will be reviewed)," Ushakov elaborated. "Hungary has been playing a rather positive role in this connection," he said.

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