Georgian and Hungarian PMs toast shared traditional values in Tbilisi

Georgian and Hungarian PMs toast shared traditional values in Tbilisi
Hungarian premier Viktor Orban (left) and Georgian premier Irakli Garibashvili and their wives at a ceremonial dinner. / bne IntelliNews
By Tornike Mandaria in Tbilisi October 13, 2023

The Georgian and Hungarian governments toasted each other's shared traditional conservative values during a visit of a Hungarian delegation to Tbilisi led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, which concluded with the signing of memoranda spanning the economy, defence, justice, and notably, the topic of "family".

Orban’s visit follows the signing of a strategic partnership agreement between Georgia and Hungary last year, illustrating the growing partnership between these two nations.

During the welcoming dinner, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili raised a toast in honour of his Hungarian counterpart, praising him as an “exemplary leader and politician” and emphasising shared values like faith, family, and tradition.

“Our countries are bound by a commitment to traditional and enduring values that have played a crucial role in preserving our history, culture, identity, and shaping our daily lives. This includes loyalty to our nations, homeland, faith, the sanctity of family, and respect for our traditions," Garibashvili said, adding, "This visit, especially during these critical times, holds great importance for us, for Georgia, and for the Georgian people. It allows everyone to identify who truly supports Georgia and its journey towards Europe."

Orban reciprocated the admiration, noting the importance of political figures like Garibashvili who not only advocate for family values but also embody them. He highlighted the historical importance of connecting Europe with the Caucasus and strongly supported Georgia's bid to become a candidate for EU membership.

Last year, Georgia was not granted candidate status, in contrast to Ukraine and Moldova, and instead received a set of 12 recommendations.  Orban called the decision not to grant Georgia the status 'immoral and unfair' and expressed hope that merit-based criteria would be the deciding factor. "We fully support your aspirations for EU membership and demand fair, merit-based treatment for the Georgian government," Orban said.

The governments of the two countries also discussed the "Green Energy Corridor - Black Sea Cable," which aims to transport Azerbaijani green energy to Hungary via a collaborative effort involving Hungary, Romania, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.

In 2023, trade turnover between the two countries increased by 21%, reaching a total of $46.62 million, according to Garibashvili. Georgia is keen to attract investments in sectors such as renewable energy, logistics, tourism, and various other areas.

Since the spring protests resulted in the government dropping a bill targeting NGOs as "foreign agents", Georgia's leadership has been using terms like "LGBT propaganda" more often, similar to Hungary's approach.

Gharibashvili voiced concerns about "hostile forces" supposedly undermining Georgian family values during a rightwing Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Budapest last month. He promised to protect the majority from what he called "minority violence".

After criticism from the Party of European Socialists (PES),  the ruling Georgian Dream party resigned its observer membership of the grouping of European Socialist parties, in a clear demonstration of its shift to the radical right.