Hungary: Further Cooperation between Croatia and MOL Is Politically Untenable

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Hungarian government seems ready to withdraw from INA.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that, in the case of Croatia and MOL, normal business cooperation had become politically untenable and that there was nothing else to do than to end this cooperation, reports Večernji List on February 3, 2017.

“In the case of Croatia and MOL, business cooperation has become politically impossible. In such a situation, it is difficult to figure out any outcome other than to finish this cooperation”, said Szijjarto in an interview with a leading Hungarian weekly Figyelo.

Asked by a reporter whether the two governments should reach an agreement about the issue, Szijjarto said that the Croatian government should reach an agreement with MOL. MOL is Hungarian oil company which currently owns almost half of INA, Croatian national oil company. Croatian state owns a slightly smaller share in INA, with the rest being divided among small shareholders.

Asked whether the Hungarian government would get involved, Szijjarto said that it would not. “However, we have made it clear that the transaction would be acceptable only if the amount of money that is returned to Hungary is equal to the full amount of the capital which MOL had invested in INA”, Szijjarto said in the interview with the Hungarian weekly.

In January, Szijjarto also said in an interview with the MTI news agency that the Croatian government must come to an agreement with MOL about the purchase of shares in INA, but that Hungary should receive at least the amount which it had invested in INA. MOL currently holds 49.08 percent of INA shares and the market price of its shares is about 1.9 billion euros. Croatian government has a 44.8 percent stake in INA.

The Croatian government made a decision in January to establish the council for negotiations with MOL regarding the possible purchase of shares held by the Hungarian company in INA. The Council will provide guidance, take measures and activities, and propose to the government decisions regarding the preparation, implementation and financing of possible purchase of INA shares currently held by MOL.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković told reporters that today he would meet with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during an informal summit of European Union leaders in Valletta, Malta. One of the topics which they will discuss will certainly be the INA-MOL case.


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