Orban calls visit to Kazakhstan new success in opening to the East

Astana, May 4 (MTI) – Prime Minister Viktor Orban hailed his two-day visit to Kazakhstan, heading of a delegation of government officials and businesspersons, as a new success in Hungary’s opening to the East. Before concluding the visit, Orban met Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and signed a long-term strategic cooperation agreement.

Addressing a forum of 150 to 200 Hungarian and Kazakh businesspeople on Friday, Orban said, “the people of Hungary understood in time what European leaders are reluctant to acknowledge: that we can no longer live as we have done up to now.”


Hungarians also realised that Europe was on the wrong track and the country had suffered due to this loss of direction, he said.


The Hungarian government has seen during the past two years that its aims and new direction have been clearly understood by emerging and successful countries in the East, he said.


“They understand that we want to build our economy on real foundations, real– one could say tangible — values, instead of illusions, dogmas and ideologies,” he said.


Orban said the winners in the current global economy would be those who acknowledge the nature of competition — how competitors can compete to form cooperation. A company, a country or a region can be strong, but if it does not recognise in time the cooperative framework in which its own strength can be best used, then it can easily be passed by others, he said.


Orban also spoke about the importance of Hungary’s opening up to countries of the east during the subsequent plenary talks with Karim Masimov, his Kazakh counterpart.


Opening to the east is Hungary’s response to changes in the global economy, and this involves recognising the increased significance of countries such as Kazakhstan, Orban said.


Following the talks, Orban told a press conference that Hungary appreciated Kazakhstan’s performance during the past twenty years and called the country a dominant state in the region. Kazakhstan defies the commonly held belief that there is a global crisis, Orban said.


“There are some parts of the world where there is a crisis and there are others without one. We have come from a place where there is crisis to another part where there is no crisis,” he argued.


Orban said he had come to Kazakhstan not only as a prime minister but also as a “western brother to a brother in the east”.


Before the press conference, representatives of the two countries signed bilateral agreements including ones on exchanging tax-related information, health cooperation, and on setting up a Kazakh-Hungarian business council.


At the end of his programme, Orban held talks with President Nursultan Nazarbayev in a meeting which lasted for over an hour, and signed an agreement on long-term strategic cooperation between the two countries, Orban’s spokesman, Peter Szijjarto, told MTI.


It was established that the two countries were maintaining close and friendly ties and that “now is the time to turn to substantiating economic cooperation in a strategic alliance.”


The focus will lie on the energy sector, construction, farming and health care, Szijjarto added.


Further, joint Hungarian-Kazakh ventures will be established with the creation of an economic-development fund and in the deepening of financial cooperation, he said. A mixed economic committee at government level will also be appointed and Masimov’s visit to Budapest will also play a major role in substantiating the concord, he said.

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