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Russian President, Hungarian PM to discuss bilateral relations at talks in Moscow

January 14, 2014, 2:10 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, January 14, /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to hold talks Tuesday with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who will make a brief working visit to Moscow.

In the course of the talks Putin and Orban will discuss the status of and prospects for bilateral relations and measures to boost mutually beneficial trade, the Kremlin press service said.

Bilateral trade has a solid potential, as Russia is Hungary’s largest foreign trade partner outside the EU and, generally, occupies the third position on the list of Budapest’s leading trade partners after Germany and Austria.

Russian-Hungarian trade stood at $ 7.2 billion in the period of January through to September, 2013, and at $ 9.7 billion in 2012. Accumulated Russian capital investment in the Hungarian economy totaled $ 1.5 billion, while Hungarian investment in the Russian economy totaled about $ 2 billion.

Trade issues are generally handled by the intergovernmental commission, the 7th session of which was held last September in Budapest.

OTP Bank /own capital totaling 24 billion rubles (USD 1=RUB 33.0) and assets reaching 147 billion rubles/, Gedeon Richter pharmaceutical company /running a pharmaceutical factory in Yegoryevsk near Moscow/ and the oil and gas corporation MOL /producer of crude oil in the Tomsk region, central Siberia/.

Russian investors are represented in Hungary by the oil company LUKOIL /running a network of 75 gasoline stations and an oil tank farm/ and Sberbank /the Savings Bank/ that purchased the Hungarian assets of Austria’s Volksbank in 2012.

The energy sector occupies the dominant positions in Russian-Hungarian cooperation. As much as 80% of crude oil and 75% of natural gas consumed by Hungary comes from Russia, ad almost 40% of electricity is generated by the Paks nuclear power plant that was built with the assistance of Russian experts.

At present, the sides are having detailed discussions of a possibility to upgrade the NPP’s production capability substantially.

In addition to this, Hungary participates in the South Stream gas pipeline project under an intergovernmental agreement signed February 28, 2008. The country’s territory will have 229 km-long section of the pipeline, which is due to come on stream in 2017.

Cultural and Humanitarian contacts between the two countries are traditionally strong, too. Leo Tolstoy Association for Cultural Ties with Russia was set up in Budapest in 2011. On the other side, a Society for Relations of Friendship with Hungary is active in Russia.

Hungarians are displaying a growing interest in the Russian language. It occupies the forth position as regards the number of students after English, German, and French. A total of 4,000 school and junior college students and about 1,400 university students were studying it in 2013.

In April 2013, the Russian Culture Ministry and the Hungarian Ministry of Social Development signed a program for cooperation through to 2015. Also, the sides resumed a protocol on exchanges in the field of education.

Russian Orthodox Church is one of the public organizations supporting contacts with Hungarian officials. April 14, 2013, the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I met with the Human Resources Minister, Zoltan Balog, who supervises the policies towards religion in Hungary.

December 16, 2013, the chairman of Moscow Patriarchate’s department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hillarion, was received by Prime Minister Orban.

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