Hungarian press abuzz with resignation of minister overseeing energy – official government communication all about Uzbekistan

November 10. 2022. – 10:08 AM



Copied to clipboard

It has been more than half a day since the news of the resignation of Hungary's Minister of Technology and Industry László Palkovics began to circulate on Wednesday afternoon, and a successor is said to have been already found.

The government, however, still hasn't officially communicated the resignation by Thursday morning, and questions were deflected on Wednesday by Bertalan Havasi, the Prime Minister's press chief, who told us that the Prime Minister was on his way to Uzbekistan, so we should contact the Minister in charge of the Prime Minister's Office. In response to our inquiry, the Prime Minister's Office only said that the Prime Minister decides on the members of the government and if there is a change in the structure of the government, the public will be informed.

No official information has been received from the government since then, all the communication has instead been about Uzbekistan. This is where Orbán traveled on Wednesday, to attend the summit of the Organisation of Turkic States.

He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, Minister for Economic Development Márton Nagy and Balázs Orbán, the PM's Political Director, as well as nearly 60 Hungarian businessmen, to take part in the related Uzbek-Hungarian business forum.

Speaking at the business forum on Thursday, Márton Nagy praised the rapid development of the relationship between the two countries, which, he stressed, includes not only political but also economic relations – MTI reports. Nagy recalled that Hungary, as an open and export-oriented country, is also looking for export and business opportunities in the East.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade also issued a statement about the Business Forum, in which they wrote about the speech given by Péter Szijjártó. The minister said that the Uzbek market offers excellent opportunities for Hungarian companies using advanced technology. He also pointed out the governments of the two countries have created the conditions for mutually beneficial cooperation, and there are no contentious political issues.

On Thursday morning, Bertalan Havasi, the Prime Minister's press chief, issued a briefing to MTI on Uzbekistan. According to the statement, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held talks with Uzbek President Savkat Mirziyoyev in Samarkand on economic and energy cooperation and closer cultural and educational ties. Mr Orbán said that in the current crisis brought on by the war in Ukraine and sanctions, all of Europe, including Hungary, is struggling to maintain its economic momentum.

Despite these circumstances, Hungary is not slowing down, he said, and intends to increase the intensity of cooperation with Uzbekistan, which is Hungary's strategic partner in the region. The Hungarian government also wants to strengthen the two countries' joint projects in the fields of nuclear energy, chemical industry, finance and telecommunications. Orbán also announced that the number of scholarships for Uzbek students' studies in Hungary will be increased from 120 to 170 per year.

According to our information on the resignation of Palkovics, the ministry has already informed the staff at the head of department level about the preparations for the handover on Wednesday. The reason for Palkovics’s departure is said to be differences of opinion on energy policy. According to our sources, the Prime Minister wants to create a separate Ministry of Energy because of the energy crisis.

László Palkovics has been one of the most powerful men in the fourth Orbán government, with his portfolio including energy policy, the state-owned MVM, (electricity provider) waste management, transport, climate issues, industrial policy, technological development, employment and environmental protection.

For more quick, accurate and impartial news from and about Hungary, subscribe to the Telex English newsletter!