National Press Club

Hungary Wants to Keep Russian Investments Under Control, Foreign Minister Says

June 15, 2009 | By Peter Hickman |

Peter Balazs

Peter Balazs

Photo/Image: Ben Keller

Peter Balaz, Hungarian minister for foreign affairs, said his country wants to maintain good relations with Russia, but at the same time keep Russian "investments" in Hungary "under control."

At a June 10 Newsmaekr, he said one such investment is Moscow's interest in the planned Nabucco gas pipeline project, which would transport natural gas from Turkey to Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. This would be a diversion from the present method of importing the gas only from Russia, which makes other countries dependent on Moscow.

Balazs also said Hungary wants to improve the "employment situation and social integration" of its Roma, or Gypsy, population. In this connection, he said, recent victories of conservative political parties in European parliament elections may indicate frustration among some voters with large foreign populations.

Seven of these nations, he noted, border Hungary, and four of them--Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine---have large Hungarian minorities, including Roma. "We want to maintain and improve relations with them all," he said.