Hungary urges EU to grant Georgia visa-free travel

  • Georgia is Hungary's second largest trade partner in the South Caucasus., 10 Feb 2015 - 18:04, Tbilisi,Georgia

Hungary is "absolutely supportive” of Georgia receiving visa-free travel with the European Union (EU), says Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban.

Orban spoke about Georgia’s EU visa liberalisation progress at a joint press conference with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili in Budapest today.

The Hungarian Prime Minister stressed the importance of the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit planned in Riga this May and said: "We feel that the EU has to give a visa waiver to Georgia.”

"This will be a logical consequence of the document Georgia has signed with the EU and which clearly would benefit both the Georgian people and the European Union.”

Watch the full press conference here.

Meanwhile, the two PMs also spoke about the trade and economic relations between Georgia and Hungary.

Orban said a Hungarian Trade Office would open its doors in Tbilisi in April, which would further deepen relations between the two countries.

Photo by PM Garibashvili's press office

Before speaking to the media, the two officials held a face-to-face meeting and then a group meeting, which was attended by a Georgian delegation and representatives of the Hungarian government.

The parties spoke about a number of topics regarding the state of the region and ways to encourage and deepen bilateral relations. Specifically, the parties defined prospects of developing bilateral political and cultural relations and trade and economic cooperation.

The discussion also involved Georgia's investment potential and the importance of advancing cooperation in the field of tourism.

It was pointed out that since 2014 Hungarian airline Wizz Air has carried out regular flights between Georgia’s second largest city Kutaisi and Budapest. This has significantly increased the number of tourists and simplified travel between the two countries.

Hungarian and Georgian flags are flying in Budapest as the Georgian officials are paying a visit to Hungary. Photo by PM's press office

In addition, special attention was paid to the importance of Hungary sharing its experience with Georgia in agriculture.

The discussion also involved Georgia's EU integration and future NATO membership. The Georgian side spoke highly of Hungary's active support for Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

The situation in Georgia's occupied territories was something both parties were concerned about, where particular concern was raised over the so-called treaties between Georgia’s occupied areas Abkhazia and Tskhinvali and Moscow, which were assessed as steps toward the annexation of these Georgian regions.

Garibashvili and the Georgian delegation are on the second day of their state visit to Hungary. The Georgian group is expected home later today.