President Tamas Sulyok - Photo: Facebook

President Sulyok: Hungary-Austria ties ‘excellent’

Ties between Hungary and Austria are "excellent", President Tamas Sulyok's office told MTI in a statement after talks between the presidents of the two countries in Vienna on Wednesday.

Sulyok and Alexander Van der Bellen agreed that “in the current, extraordinary times good and balanced ties between neighbouring countries as well as regular communication are more important than ever,” the statement said, adding that bilateral economic and cultural ties were also excellent, based on a strategic partnership and centuries of historical contact.

According to the statement, Sulyok expressed his support to plans to open a Hungarian language secondary school in Vienna.

On the subject of traffic restrictions at the Hungary-Austria border, they agreed that finding an early resolution to the problems and ensuring smooth crossing was in the interest of both countries, the statement said, noting “constructive talks” between the two governments.

Sulyok informed his counterpart about objectives of Hungary’s European Union presidency, while both presidents highlighted the importance of increasing the EU’s competitiveness, adding that a speedy accession of the Western Balkans to the EU was crucial.

Sulyok also invited Van der Bellen to an official visit to Budapest.

According to the statement, Sulyok also met House Speaker Wolfgang Sobotka, and discussed issues around the war in Ukraine, and protection to the rights of ethnic minorities.

At the talks, Sulyok noted Hungary’s “zero tolerance for anti-Semitism” and expressed Hungary’s support for Israel and that country’s “right to self-defence”. Sulyok condemned all forms of terrorism, but added that “the Palestinian people and Hamas are not the same”.

Sulyok also noted that Vienna’s Collegium Hungaricum, “the first Hungarian cultural institution abroad”, was celebrating its first centenary this year.

After his talks, the president laid a wreath of commemoration at a monument of Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis at Vienna’s medical university.

In a speech before the opening concert of Hungary’s EU presidency held in the evening, the president highlighted the importance of avoiding the erosion of European values and of preserving them “for the success of the European community”, as well as improving competitiveness.

“We want to guarantee a good life for ourselves, our children and grandchildren, and we need a strong and stable Europe for that, one that is proud of its values,” Sulyok said.

“There is no need for a one-size-fits-all Europe, the free collision of opinions is a trademark of democracy,” he said.

The EU’s strength is in the “special nature and constitutions” of the individual member states, he added.

In the face of challenges, each member state should fulfil its tasks and duties “as they see fit, to the benefit of the entire community,” he said.

“It is not fair to doubt others’ goodwill and deep concern for the future of Europe.”

Sulyok added that Hungary was counting on Austria’s support during the presidency.

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