Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides after his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary
Budapest, 19 October 2021
Let me first express my pleasure to be in Budapest today with my dear friend Péter and to thank him wholeheartedly for the hospitality and warm welcome for me and the Cypriot delegation.
My friend Peter,
My visit today coincides with the completion of 60 years of diplomatic relations between our countries and I think this is great occasion, not only to celebrate this anniversary, but most importantly to determine the next steps in our bilateral relations.
In the context of today's enlarged consultations, we reviewed the course of our cooperation and noted our strong will for new initiatives that will contribute to the further development of our bilateral relations and our cooperation within the European Union.
This shared will is illustrated in a tangible way by the Memorandum of Understanding for Political Consultations between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs we signed today, laying a strong foundation for deepening cooperation and mutual understanding on a number of issues, through annual consultations and exchanges of visits at political and official level.
The historical relations between the two countries and the long-standing ties connecting our citizens have been significantly enhanced, inter alia, due to frequent direct flights to and from Hungary which created better prospects for increased tourist flows, as well as business cooperation. It is worth noting that Cyprus recognized Hungary's vaccination certificate very early, thus facilitating travel to and from Cyprus for Hungarian citizens.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today we also had the opportunity to exchange views on issues at the forefront of the European agenda, such as our efforts at European and national level to effectively manage the pandemic and address migration-related matters, as well as regarding the Conference on the Future of Europe and Climate Change. The EU is at a critical juncture and significant and substantial action is needed to successfully meet today's challenges.
As partners in the European Union, we both share common concerns and face common challenges. Our accession in 2004 was a turning point for the further course of our bilateral relations. As members of the large European family, we realize that sometimes there may be different approaches to issues, but there is strong willingness to work together to address these challenges and find solutions in a spirit of solidarity and mutual respect for the interests and the aspirations of each Member State of the European family, but also of the EU as a whole.
In particular, in the field of migration, despite some different approaches partly as a result of different circumstances in our countries, we agree that the instrumentalization of migration is condemnable and measures must be taken against third countries that resort to such methods.
With regard to the Conference on the Future of Europe, I believe that we have a common approach, as we both recognize its importance for the widening and deepening of the European project, for shaping the future of the EU. As for Climate Change, the limiting factors and the special circumstances of each Member State should be taken into consideration. In the case of Cyprus, for example, special characteristics such as the fact that it is an island state with an isolated energy system, purchasing power and size scale, and with sectors such as shipping and air transport being vital to the country’s economy, must be taken into account.
Today, we also discussed regional issues, such as developments in the Western Balkans, where we share a common approach, both supporting that a visible perspective for the Western Balkan countries to join the EU is the only way to ensure peace, stability and prosperity in a region adjacent to the EU.
I also briefed Peter on my recent visit to Beirut, conveying our assessments concerning the future of the country, but also our readiness to use the Tripartite Cooperation Mechanism to assist Lebanon in specific areas that the country will suggest.
Our discussions, as expected, also covered the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, in the light of the new Turkish violations, both on land and at sea, as well as the relevant, joint EU decisions and conclusions, following yesterday Foreign Affairs Council, where it unanimously agreed to draw up a list of options on how to tackle Turkey's revisionist behavior. Unfortunately, Turkey is stepping up the illegal, aggressive and provocative violations of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, aiming to create new faits accomplis in flagrant disregard of the relevant decisions of the United Nations and the EU.
Turkey's violations in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus, among others, have a negative impact on the interests and goals of the EU and its Member States, as they also aim to nullify any prospects for the Eastern Mediterranean to develop as an alternative energy option for the EU. And I am sure that Hungary is well aware of the importance of such a prospect.
Let me clarify, by the way, that any decision to adopt a positive agenda in EU-Turkey relations depends solely on Ankara, which must, among other, end any illegal activities, both on land and at sea but also to contribute substantially to the solution of a predominantly European problem such as the Cyprus problem, on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions and EU principles and values.
I would like to once again warmly thank you for your hospitality and underline that I am convinced that my visit and the signing of the relevant Memorandum of Political Consultations can be the basis for strengthening our bilateral relations and the deepening of cooperation in areas such as the economy, trade and tourism, bringing our countries and our peoples even closer together.
Photos ©Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary