Hungary and Cyprus have signed a bilateral natural gas agreement in connection with supply from Cyprus’s offshore Aphrodite gas field, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Friday. Szijjártó said that Hungary regarded the gas from Cyprus as a realistic alternative with a view to boosting its energy security and diversifying gas supplies.
Speaking at the inauguration of a Hungarian consulate in Nicosia, he noted that Hungary is almost totally reliant on Russian gas supplies.
The agreement with Cyprus sets the stage for Cyprus gas to enter the market in south-eastern and central Europe, he said. The countries will also look into the uses of advanced Hungarian water management technologies in improving Cyprus’s water supply, Szijjártó said. With falling rates and the uneven distribution of annual rain, water supply is becoming an increasing problem in Cyprus, he said. The island is one of the most popular destinations for Hungarian tourists, with their numbers soaring by 72 percent between January and October 2018 compared with the previous year, Szijjártó noted.
Next year, this is expected to be boosted further by a flight to be launched between the eastern Hungarian city of Debrecen and Paphos, in western Cyprus, he said. Szijjártó praised Cyprian-Hungarian relations, saying the countries saw eye to eye on many issues regarding the future of Europe. “We both strive for a strong Europe comprising strong nation states … proud of their identity, traditions and culture,” he said. They will also support each other in the EU debate to boost border protection and the fight against terrorism in the EU, he said.
HUNGARIAN PEACEKEEPERS IN CYPRUS
Although there is a well-known fact that Cyprus consists of a Greek and Turkish part, few would think that there is an active international peacekeeping mission in one of the most popular tourist-paradise of Europe. Today, the sight of soldiers in blue helmets and the borderline between the two parts of the country is rather a kind of tourist attraction in the capital city of Nicosia.