Hungary Seeks to Be First in EU to Join Russia-Led Regional Bank

Hungary is seeking to become the first European Union nation to join the Moscow-based Eurasian Development Bank, according to Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

Membership in the bank, which groups Russia and five other former members of the Soviet Union including Kazakhstan, will help Hungary expand its investments in central Asia, Szijjarto told a briefing in Kazakhstan on Tuesday. He also said Hungary’s state-owned Eximbank will set up a $170 million credit facility to boost business ties with Kazakhstan.

Joining Eurasian Development Bank would be the latest move by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to deepen eastern ties. Hungary is also a member of another Russia-led lender, the International Investment Bank, and succeeded in moving its headquarters to Budapest from Moscow in 2019 in a step widely criticized by Hungary’s western allies.

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