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Nemeth: Hungary-Poland ties forward-looking

Hungarian-Polish relations are forward- rather than backward-looking, Zsolt Nemeth, the head of Hungarian parliament's foreign affairs committee, said on Wednesday, declaring an interest in finding solutions to problems instead of dwelling on them.

Addressing a panel discussion on Polish-Hungarian ties at the 31st International Economic Forum in Karpacz, in south-western Poland, Nemeth welcomed recent comments by President Mateusz Morawiecki on reviving bilateral and Visegrad Group cooperation “in the current difficult economic and political situation”.

In response to Morawiecki’s interview in the Sieci weekly, Nemeth told MTI that Hungarian-Polish relations had passed through a period of crisis in the past six months.

“We in Hungary, however, have always underscored that we will not allow the war [in Ukraine] to destroy Hungarian-Polish relations,” he said.

He dismissed Hungarian press commentary suggesting that Morawieczki’s change of heart was linked to the issue of blocked EU recovery funds for Poland as “utterly ridiculous”. In disputes with the European Union, Poland and Hungary had always “stood shoulder to shoulder” despite differences over the war in Ukraine, he said.

He noted President Katalin Novak’s meeting with Andrzej Duda, her Polish counterpart, in Warsaw in May at which they had agreed to jointly press Brussels “to treat us as equal partners and release funding we are entitled to”. “We stand together against any kind of political blackmail,” Nemeth said.

Addressing the panel discussion, Ryszard Terlecki, the deputy marshal of the Sejm, reiterated Morawieczki’s position on the need to revive cooperation within the Visegrad Group in areas on which viewpoints are broadly shared. He called the EU’s future such an issue, underscoring that both the Polish and Hungarian government rejects the concept of “a centralised, federalist-type union”.

Terlecki also called for renewing the Visegrad cooperation primarily in economic matters. “We must also return to our alliance formed on EU matters”, he said, adding that concerning the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia the two countries’ positions “may differ slightly”. “But let’s come to terms with the differences and let’s forge ahead,” Terlecki said.

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