Hungary will be able to import LNG from Egypt by 2026: Hungarian PM in presser with Sisi

Habiba Hamdy , Amr Kandil , Tuesday 28 Feb 2023

Hungary will be able to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Egypt starting 2026 as the central European country seeks to cover its energy requirements, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Tuesday.

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during a press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held in Cairo on Tuesday. (Photos courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency)

Orbán made the remarks in a joint press conference with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during his official visit to Cairo.

Hungary seeks to import LNG from Egypt following the development of the required infrastructure in Greece to guarantee its energy security, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó, who is also on a visit to Cairo, was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Szijjártó also stated that a partnership deal is being established with Egypt that guarantees joint benefits in the nuclear industry, higher education, energy, and the economy.

Late in 2021, Egypt, a major gas exporter, and Greece agreed on expanding their cooperation regarding LNG supply and examining the possibility of constructing a subsea gas pipeline between the two states amid European countries’ keenness to diversify their energy sources.

Egypt also signed a gas deal with the European Union and Israel in June 2022, in which Egypt will export Israeli liquified natural gas to Europe via Egyptian LNG plants.

During the presser, El-Sisi said his discussions with Orbán on Tuesday involved enhancing bilateral cooperation between Egypt and Hungary in many fields, including energy, transport, trade, industry, tourism, agriculture, irrigation, water management, culture, and education.

Fighting irregular migration

Orbán hailed today Egypt’s efforts to stop irregular migration to Europe, reiterating that Europe would have been in “great trouble” if Egypt had not exercised the required measures to face the phenomenon.

He added that support for Egypt’s efforts to face irregular migration is strongly related to the security of Europe and Hungary, affirming that Europe should appreciate these efforts.

Orbán said Egypt is at the top of the defence line in North Africa against irregular migration to Europe.

For his part, El-Sisi extended Egypt’s appreciation for Hungary under Orbán for being “our voice in the EU,” as Budapest has been keen to explain to the EU the situation in the region, including in Egypt.

Last year, Hungary called on the EU to provide Egypt with financial support to help the North African country in its efforts to address irregular migration from Africa to Europe.

Egypt has stepped up its efforts to face irregular migration to Europe, allowing no boats carrying migrants to leave Egyptian coasts since 2016.

Boosting cooperation

El-Sisi hailed Egyptian-Hungarian relations as a “role model” amid unprecedented global challenges.

El-Sisi said his talks with Orbán also addressed enhancing economic bilateral relations between Egypt and Hungary and the benefits that Hungarian businessmen can reap, especially in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone).

“We have also stressed the necessity of continuing the formation of bonds between Egyptian companies and their Hungarian counterparts and exchanging expertise in agriculture, water management, and irrigation,” El-Sisi said.

The president said the discussions addressed cooperation to face the global food and energy crises and also the need to increase the number of tourists between Egypt and Hungary.

El-Sisi said he affirmed to Orbán the need to implement the contract of exporting 1,350 railway cars to Egypt within the agreed upon timeframes.

The president said he also agreed with the Hungarian PM on the necessity of discussing cooperation in localising the railway car industry in Egypt.

El-Sisi hailed Hungary’s decision to increase the number of university and post-university scholarships to 200 starting from the academic year 2023-2024, saying that Egypt looks forward to increasing these scholarships even more in the future.

Strategic partnership, MoUs

The two leaders signed a joint declaration on the Egyptian-Hungarian strategic partnership to raise the level of bilateral relations between the two countries.

Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Energy Mohamed Shaker and Hungary’s FM Szijjártó signed an MoU in training and education in the safe usage of nuclear power.

Furthermore, Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Ayman Ashour signed an MoU in the Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme for the years 2023-2026, as well as another MoU in higher education and scientific research for the same years.

Finally, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Hungarian counterpart signed an MoU in youth and sports.

Egypt-Hungary relations

Egypt and Hungary share strong economic relations and joint investments, with 74 Hungarian companies operating in Egypt in multiple sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, and services.

In February 2022, Egypt and Hungary signed an MoU to form a joint committee for trade and industry with the aim of enhancing industrial and commercial relations between the two countries.

The trade exchange between Egypt and Hungary amounted to $400 million in 2021, according to data provided by Szijjártó in February last year.

Hungary also exports to Egypt machinery, electric generators, glass and organic chemicals, while Egypt exports cotton, fruits, vegetables, cement, fertilisers, carpets, ceramics, and plastic.

The two countries inaugurated the Egypt-Hungary Business Council in 2009.

Regarding tourism, around 40,000 Hungarian tourists visited Egypt in 2021, according to data displayed by Extra News TV channel.

Egypt was the first Arab country to establish diplomatic relations with Hungary in 1928, and it set up its first embassy in Budapest in 1957.

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