Hungary and Tunisia signed a bilateral agreement Monday on Interior Ministry and anti-terrorism cooperation, under which Hungary will share its border control and border security experiences with Tunisia, according to a report on official government website kormany.hu.
“A Tunisian delegation has already visited Hungary’s southern border, in addition to which a Tunisian anti-terrorist delegation has also visited Hungary, and a Hungarian anti-terrorist delegation has visited Tunisia,” said Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó.
Szijjártó told reporters that in future the two countries would be tightening their border security and anti-terrorist cooperation, with Hungary providing Tunisia with the assistance required to defend its border with Libya, which is in the interests of both Hungary and the European Union.
“Cooperation between Hungary and Tunisia is extremely important from both an economic and security perspective,” Szijjártó said, according to kormany.hu. “From a security perspective, because while there is peace and stability in Tunisia we can be sure that hundreds of thousands or millions of illegal immigrants will not overrun Europe from this stretch of North African coastline.”
Although the people of Tunisia live their lives under a major threat of terrorism, “they are holding up for the moment,” the minister stressed, adding that it would also be in Europe’s interests for the country to remain stable in the long term, because while this is the case “the European Union can count on one less danger from the south.”
Szijjártó also noted that, with regard to economic cooperation, Tunisia has “picked Hungary as its strategic economic partner in Central Europe,” thanks to which bilateral trade flow increased by 18.5% in January. He added that Hungary’s Eximbank has opened a EUR 255 million credit line to facilitate cooperation between Hungarian and Tunisian enterprises, which he said affords major opportunities on the Tunisian market to Hungarian companies operating primarily within the fields of agriculture, the food industry and water management.
The minister met Monday with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi and Minister of Foreign Affairs Khemaies Jhinaoui in Tunis, and was also scheduled to meet the ministers of transport, agriculture and higher education, as well as directors of Tunisia’s largest companies and officials of its Chamber of Commerce and Industry.