Orbán marks German Unity Day

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán sent a letter of congratulations to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday, marking German Unity Day, the country's national holiday, the PM's press chief told MTI.

Orbán said Germany’s reunification after the fall of communism in 1990 was “a great celebration, especially to us Hungarians. From the crack created when we knocked the first brick from the Berlin Wall, Germany’s desire for freedom fashioned a gateway to German and European unity,” Bertalan Havasi cited Orbán as saying.

Thirty years ago, Hungary supported Germany’s independence “because we knew our own freedom and independence would remain a futile dream without it,” Orbán said.

Orbán pledged Hungary’s support to Germany in “protecting and strengthening a united, sovereign, safe and competitive Europe,” Havasi said.

At an event marking the German national day in Budapest, a state secretary of the Defence Ministry said the events around the fall of communism had “brought European nations closer to each other”. The fall of the Berlin Wall was the “glorious peak” of the regime changes in eastern Europe and Europe’s reunification, he said.

Istvan Szabo noted that Hungary and Germany had since found many areas of cooperation. Hungarian and German troops have been fighting side by side in Afghanistan for 11 years, he said. He thanked the German Armed Forces for mentoring the central European International Command, which had been created at Hungary’s initiative.

Johannes Haindl, Germany’s Ambassador to Hungary, said Germany was and will always be grateful to Hungary. Germany’s reunification would not have been possible without Hungary opening its borders to Austria in 1989, he said.

Germany and Hungary are closely linked, Haindl said, adding that nation states in themselves were no longer able to rise to global challenges, but needed the EU’s stability more than ever.

The commemoration was held at a memorial set up in Budapest in 1990, under trees planted by Defence Ministers Lajos Fur of Hungary, Rainer Eppelmann of the German Democratic Republic and Gerhard Stoltenberg of the Federal Republic of Germany, to symbolise German unity.

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