Katalin Novak - Photo: Facebook

President discusses minorities, Schengen membership with Romanian counterpart

Hungary and Romania aim to strengthen the European Union and boost its influence, Hungarian President Katalin Novak said in Bucharest on Wednesday after talks with her Romanian counterpart Klaus Johannis.

Hungary and Romania are ready to work together to boost Europe, Novak told a joint press conference after the talks.

The presidents touched on Romania’s plans to join the EU’s Schengen zone, the situation of Hungarians living in Romania, aid for Ukrainian refugees and energy dependence.

“I trust the pragmatic, good and modern relations between Romania and Hungary,” Novak said.

It has been 12 years since the last official visit of a Hungarian head of state in Romania, she noted.

Regarding energy dependency, Novak said Hungary, a landlocked country, was counting on Romania in its work to wean itself from Russian energy resources and boost energy diversification.

Hungary’s access to the EU funds it is entitled to would be a powerful tool in that fight, among others, Novák said. Poland and Hungary should both receive all the funding they are entitled to, as a tool to increase energy independence, she added.

Speaking of the war in Ukraine, Novak noted that Hungary has already accepted some 900,000 refugees form that country. Aid work continues in both Romania and Hungary, she added.

Protecting the rights of Hungarian minorities in Romania is another joint aim of the two countries, Novak said, welcoming that the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) is part of the Romanian government.

Later in the day, Novak is slated to hold bilateral talks with interim Senate President Alina Gorghiu, President of the Chamber of Deputies Marcel Ciolacu, Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca and Deputy Prime Minister Hunor Kelemen.

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