Though Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó has recently said Hungarian-Croatian bilateral political relations are at an ebb, Croatia's Ambassador to Hungary, Gordan Grlic Radman has told Magyar Nemzet that it would be a mistake to reduce the many-faceted relations of the two countries to the dispute between energy firms INA and MOL.
The Croatian ministry of economy has revoked INA's license to explore potential gas and oil sites again. The move counteracts an earlier Zagreb court ruling and might push MOL closer to sell its stake in INA.
To resolve the MOL-INA conflict, the Croatians should buy out the Hungarian stake by paying about USD 3 billion. Don't hold your breath.
Hoyt Brian Yee, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Amos J. Hochstein, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Diplomacy, arrived in Budapest yesterday from Zagreb, Croatia. They had talks with Péter Szijjártó, Hungarian State Secretary for External and External Economic Affairs and, this daily has learned, also with the Executive Chairman of the Hungarian oil and gas group MOL, Zsolt Hernádi.
Zsolt Hernádi is to petition the Constitutional Court of Croatia – Magyar Nemzet has reported.
A communiqué issued about the talks between the Hungarian MOL Group and Croatian government representatives on the INA Croatian energy company on January 15 indicates that differences may have been reduced.
Zsolt Hernádi has ordered to have all Croatian documents generated in the MOL vs. INA trial so far translated into Hungarian.
A new Hungarian cultural institute has opened in Zagreb, Croatia. Its director, historian and literary translator Dénes Sokcsevits, has informed Magyar Nemzet of the plans of the institute.
In a 16-minute, English-language video interview Zsolt Hernádi discussed a whole array of current issues in MOL’s operation.
First the Hungarian government and now the board of MOL is holding out the possibility of selling its stake in INA even though the Croatian firm accounts for a quarter of the Hungarian oil group’s sales.
It wasn’t after the Croatian–Hungarian talks on November 8 that MOL’s board authorized the management to prepare for selling shares of INA but much earlier than that – this daily has learned.
MOL has begun taking preparations to withdraw from INA. That has opened a new chapter in the staring contest between the Hungarian oil and gas group and the Croatian government. MOL has brought this difficult decision after Viktor Orbán had held out the possibility of selling MOL’s stake in INA.
When Nepszabadsag asked a source in Hungarian government circles whether or not the issue has come up to replace Hernadi, this was the answer: “electing someone else to the top of the oil company is beyond the government’s competence, and such a step wouldn’t be fortune in the present situation.” In short: it has not.
Orbán declares long-term Hungarian–Croatian friendship overrules business interests. Hungary therefore prompts MOL to sell its stake in INA. Croatian Premier is ready to start talks with Hungary. A corrected EAW has arrived at the competent Hungarian authority. Prosecutors of Croatia and Hungary disagree on whether investigations into Hernadi’s case have already taken place in Hungary.
The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) against MOL Executive Chairman Zsolt Hernádi needs to be rewritten because of a formal error. Croatian Premier Zoran Milanović says Croatia and Hungary are not belligerents despite the MOL controversy. MOL announces Croatia has lost preemptive rights over MOL’s stocks in INA.
Members of the INA and Subsidiaries Workers’ Union (INAŠ), one of the three unions of INA, Croatian oil company, held a demonstration in Zagreb on Thursday, July 18, to protest measures that co-owner Hungarian oil and gas company MOL plans to introduce.
The ambiguities of how the Hungarian politicians relate to the European Union could also be seen on how they commented on Croatia’s march to the EU. In an interview for a Zagreb television program Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that – unlike in Hungary and the other Visegrád Four coutries, all of which are doing well – in the western part of the European Union competitiveness declined, social tensions grew and Eurospeak was beyond people’s comprehension.
Croatian citizens may freely work in Hungary as from July 1. Although joblessness is over 20 percent there, Hungarian observers do not expect an influx of Croatian jobseekers.
In just a few days Croatia will become part of the European Union and Hungary will take over the rotating presidency of the Visegrád Group. The combination of these two events is strongly suggesting that the time may be ripe to take advantage of a long-standing opportunity and bring Croatia into the Visegrád Group.
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