Viktor Orbán (l) and Robert Fico - Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Hungary, Slovakia preparing for ‘best chapter’ of cooperation

Hungary and Slovakia are prepared "to write the best-ever chapter of their cooperation", Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said after meeting Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico in Bratislava on Tuesday.

The recent election in Slovakia led to the formation of a “patriotic government which undertakes the enforcement of national interests and pursues sovereign politics”, Szijjarto said, according to a ministry statement.

And since cooperation between governments like this is easier, “I think we stand on the verge of a particularly beautiful period and huge opportunities when it comes to the future of Hungarian-Slovak relations,” he said.

Szijjarto said the two governments apply similar approaches to the most important issues concerning the future of Europe, noting that they both wanted peace in Ukraine, did not see weapons deliveries as the solution and wanted to bring a halt to illegal immigration waves.

One main focus of bilateral talks in the coming period will be boosting cooperation and coordinating national measures against migration, the minister said, adding that both countries had a negative view of the European Union’s migration package.

“Also, both governments consider it important to preserve and respect their national cultural heritage and fundamental values, and we would like it if the debates on the future of the European Union were based on common sense,” he said.

Szijjarto said that in Hungary and Slovakia’s experience, their bilateral ties had been the most effective and successful when Fico was prime minister of Slovakia.

He noted the agreement signed nine years ago which resulted in “success stories” such as the bridges over the River Ipoly, the bridge over the Danube and cross-border infrastructure developments.

“We’re prepared to base the cooperation of the coming period on similar foundations, where the aim is for both countries, both nations to benefit from this good cooperation, to coordinate our border-region developments and make use of all the opportunities in our economic cooperation,” Szijjarto said. He welcomed that the two countries will inaugurate another bridge over the Ipoly at the end of the year and the beginning of next year.

Meanwhile, Szijjarto said another key link was that both Budapest and Bratislava approached the issue of energy supply from a place of “common sense” rather than from an ideological perspective.

“Both countries use nuclear energy, and we refuse to back down on this,” Szijjarto said. “We don’t accept double standards or negative discrimination against nuclear energy, as it forms an important basis of the energy supply and energy security of both countries.”

“We’re prepared to write the best-ever chapter of Hungary and Slovakia’s cooperation in the coming years,” he said. “Fortunately, there’s a need and willingness for this on both sides of the Danube now.”

In response to a question, Szijjarto said the Hungarian government was developing ties with almost all of its neighbours knowing that they do not agree on every single issue, adding that this was also true in the case of Slovakia.

The minister also said preparations for Fico’s upcoming visit to Budapest will soon get under way.

During the day, Szijjarto met his Slovak counterpart, Juraj Blanar, Economy Minister Denisa Sakova and Regional Development Minister Richard Rasi.

Ethnic Hungarian Alliance performed well in Slovak election despite ‘headwind’

Slovakia’s ethnic Hungarian Alliance party performed well in the country’s election despite “incredible headwind” and achieved the best results of the past decade and a half, Szijjarto said. The ministry cited Szijjarto telling a joint press conference with Alliance leader Krisztian Forro that the results also made it clear which political force truly represented ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia.

“Comparing the 4.4 percent with the combined 0.3 percent received by the other two parties clearly answers the question which some artificially keep open,” he said.

“We will count on joint work with Alliance in developing Hungarian-Slovak cooperation and we will also count on cooperation with Alliance when preparing proposals to improve the situation of ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia,” he added.

The government considers ethnic Hungarians a link and resource in terms of bilateral relations between the two countries, he said.

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