The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu, stated on Tuesday that he will have in the coming period discussions with his counterpart in Budapest on the topic of the economic development program for Transylvania, emphasizing that presently this program does not have the approval of the Romanian side and that it must respect the European and Romanian legislation, but also that it must not discriminate.The remarks were made during a joint press conference held by the Romanian Foreign Minister, Bogdan Aurescu, and the Hungarian Foreign Affairs and External Trade Minister, Peter Szijjarto, at the headquarters of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE).
"I proposed to discuss the conclusion of an agreement with regards to this program that has in view the management in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner of these elements of the program, not on ethnic criteria, not by infringing European or Romanian legislation regarding competition on the market. Consequently, we will have discussions in the coming period regarding this program and we hope to reach an agreement on the basis of these parameters," Bogdan Aurescu said.
The contracts which were concluded regarding support and investments are done. The government is prepared to continue to grant these investments. Surely, I desire that we reach agreement with Mr. Minister Aurescu on how to continue. At this time there is no contract that is ongoing and now there is a particularly important opportunity to establish what we will do in the future. (...) In 2017 I spoke to Teodor Melescanu [at the time, Foreign Minister - e.n.] on this issue and we discussed conditions then. Sure, we never wrote them, we looked into each other's eyes and we established the program thusly. I understand that Mr. Minister desires we make a written agreement. Sure, we will. The program will take place on the territory of Romania and it cannot be without this signing, said Peter Szijjarto.
Aurescu emphasized that presently this program does not have the agreement of the Romanian side and has no validity, as it was not written.
"I am not doubting what my colleague Peter is saying, but in order to be truly legal with such a program it needs to be done with the involvement of Romanian authorities, be without an ethnic target - so, non-discriminatory - to have in view not only a certain region, inhabited eventually only by a certain ethnic community and, very importantly, it needs to respect European and Romanian legislation in matters of competition and state aid," Aurescu also said.
In other matters, Aurescu emphasized that Romania is interested in identifying some mutually advantageous projects, such as the dynamization of economic cooperation, especially in realms such as infrastructure or energy. He relayed to the Hungarian side his appreciation towards the identification of viable solutions in view of creating a transit corridor for Romanian citizens and ensuring the circulation of cross-border workers. Aurescu added that Romania desires the development of economic relations, given that there are important commercial exchanges between the two countries, with potential for growth. Last year, the bilateral commercial exchanges reached 9.4 billion euro.
Aurescu also mentioned that he convened with Peter Szijjarto the resumption of the activity of the Bilateral Committee on Economic Matters, which hasn't met for over four years. Furthermore, the Romanian side proposed the organization of a joint Romanian-Hungarian economic forum, which would promote the IT&C sector, environment technologies and the digital economy. The extension of cooperation in the realm of healthcare was also approached, given that there is "already an important collaboration" in the realm of pulmonary transplant, as were matters in energy, including the topic of the BRHA gas pipeline.