Budapest, Hungary – The government of Hungary has offered a €530-million credit facility, including a €20-million grant for the conduct of a study on how to clean-up Laguna Lake and the Manila Bay, as this country of 10-million which is part of the European Union (EU) starts its Eastern Shift Policy and the strengthening of its ties with the Philippines.
The fund was offered by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto during a call I made on him yesterday in Budapest after I mentioned the clean up of lakes, riverrs, creeks and bays in the Philippines as part of the Dept. of Agriculture’s fisheries program for sustainable fishing.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister also informed me that the Hungarian Eximbank has allocated a €510-million credit facility which could be acessed by private business groups in the Philippines to fund businesses which could contributed to the strenghthening of the ties between the two countries.
Foreign Minister Szijjarto said the grant and the credit facility is part of the Eastern Shift policy of Hungary which includes strengthening relations with the Philippines and other countries in East and Southeaast Asia.
He said Hungary admires the dramatic economic growth of the Philippines under the administration of President Rody Duterte, a feat which he said “we could only dream of.”
“Your country’s 7% economic growth is something which we could only dream of,” he said.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister emphasized that the credit facility and the Laguna Lake and Manila Bay clean-up study fund are offered without any attached conditions which would be perceived as interference in the internal affairs of the Philippines.
President Duterte recently announced that the Philippines will reject aid and grants from the EU which are given with attached conditions.
“We respect the sovereignty of your country and you must be allowed to run your own affairs without interference from other countries,” he said.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister’s announcement of the €530 credit facility and grant came as a surprise to the Philippine delegation which included Philippine Ambassador to Hungary Maria Fe Pangilinan, Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, Bureau of Soils and Water Management Director Angel Enriquez, Director Romirose Boloron and Executive Assistant Ferdinand Piñol.
He also offered 35 scholarship slots to Filipino post-graduate students in the field of agriculture to be sponsored by the Hungrarian government and 5 more slots under the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) program.
Hungary recently opened its embassy in Taguig, Metro Manila and Foreign Minister Szijjarto attended the event after which he proceeded to Davao City to call on President Duterte.
During the same meeting, I presented to Foreign Minister Szijjarto documents which would allow three Hungarian companies to export meat products to the Philippines.
Hungary is famous for its Hungarian sausage and is one of the biggest exporters of meat among the Eastern European countries.