Moldovan-Hungarian relations, following the established logic and tradition, intensified again during relations between Chisinau and Bucharest deterioration.
Last week, two foreign ministers, Peter Siyarto (Hungary) and Dmytro Kuleba (Ukraine) visited Moldova. A lot was revealed about the trip of the Ukrainian minister in one of the previous materials, at the same time, the fourth trip of the Hungarian Foreign Minister to Chisinau this year is, perhaps, no less interesting for experts.
The first thing catching the eye was Peter Siyarto’s statements regarding what is happening in Moldova. They contrast quite strongly with assessments of other international partners of Chisinau, especially when supporting the current Moldovan government and personally Igor Dodon. In addition, the head of the EU Delegation to Moldova, Peter Michalko, got a hit as well; the Hungarian diplomat accused his behavior during the electoral campaign of the Moldovan president stating that it did not fit into the rules of mutual respect. At the same time, it was noted that Budapest demanded that the European Commission transfer the third tranche of macro-financial assistance to Moldova as soon as possible to eliminate the socio-economic consequences of the fight against the pandemic.
During the visit, Igor Dodon awarded Peter Siyarto with a high state award – the Order of Honor of the Republic of Moldova. Actually, the Hungarian minister was not rewarded in vain; over recent years, relations between the two countries have developed very, very dynamically. In March this year, within the framework of Victor Orban’s visit to Chisinau, an agreement on strategic partnership was signed between Moldova and Hungary, which, to a certain extent, became the starting point for a new stage in Moldovan-Hungarian relations. In addition, in order to improve the indicators of mutual trade turnover, Budapest has reserved funds in the amount of 100 million euros credit stimulation for investors who will be ready to launch new economic projects in Moldova.
As to the business, currently more than 60 companies with Hungarian capital are operating in Moldova. Among them is the Hungarian bank OTP, which has bought the assets of one of the largest Moldovan banking institutions and is planning to launch a series of large IT projects in the republic in the near future. Another example is the largest Hungarian pharmaceutical company Richter, which has successfully developed a wide network of pharmacies on the territory of Moldova, having already occupied more than 10% of the pharmaceutical market.
Budapest is as well trying to develop relations with the regions of the country, in particular, contacts have been established with the administration of the left bank of the Dniester in the field of education and research. The Gagauz autonomy is of interest from the point of view of maintaining and strengthening national minorities. For Hungary, which is implementing an active diaspora policy to protect and strengthen the status of compatriots living in neighboring states, this issue is extremely important.
Generally, Moldovan-Hungarian relations do traditionally have a stable and pragmatic character, especially in the period of relations between Chisinau and Bucharest deterioration. As well known, the strengthening Budapest’s position once contributed to Vladimir Voronin, who, contrary to the wishes of the Romanian authorities, deliberately coordinated the opening of a Single Visa Application Center in Chisinau at the Hungarian Embassy. Despite this specific behavior of the Moldovan side, Budapest, nevertheless, was always ready to respond and provide support to any Moldovan government, that was having friction with Bucharest.
Chisinau realized long ago that there is no better partner for implementing the anti-Romanian policy. The demonstrative Budapest relations strengthening has always served as a kind of balancer for the active and multidirectional policy of Bucharest, which considers the Moldovan direction to be its foreign policy’s key priority. Positioning itself as a traditional “advocate” of Chisinau in the EU and Euro-Atlantic structures, Romania has always painfully perceived the involvement of Hungary in this process and its dissenting opinion regarding what is happening in Chisinau.
Moscow could not do without strengthening ties between Chisinau and Budapest, of course. The latter has successfully established cooperation with conservative Hungarian elites, which cause a lot of trouble to the European Commission. Have only a look at the recent blocking of the European Union budget. The Hungarian government, led by the permanent leader of the Fidesz party, Viktor Orban, is one of the leading leaders of the intra-European anti-system movement and regularly criticizes European officials. In this context, the assessment of the internal political situation in Moldova, which does not coincide with the opinion of Brussels serves as one more example.
If the current structure of the Moldovan government manages to hold on, then apparently, representatives of such anti-systemic currents within the European Union, along with the leaders of the CIS countries will become the main support and source of international legitimacy. They will dampen the main wave of criticism and pressure from the collective West on Chisinau.
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