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Hungary, Slovakia ‘better off’ if relations are good, Foreign Minister says

Hungary and Slovakia "are much better off when relations are good", Peter Szijjarto, the foreign minister, said on Wednesday, inaugurating a new office building of the Hungarian Consulate General in Kostice (Kassa).

The government, he said, prized the steady development of cooperation and friendship with Slovakia, according to a ministry statement.

Szijjarto said an increasing number of Hungarians had “more and more things to do here” in Kostice, and this is why it had been right to open a consulate general. The development of economic, cultural and sports relations was also a primary task, he added.

Noting that the Hungarian-Slovak border stretches to 654 kilometres, he said that by year-end there would be 40 crossing points, up from 16 on 2010.

Slovakia is Hungary’s third largest trading partner, he noted, and the value of bilateral trade reached 17 billion euros last year, setting a new record.

Meanwhile, the Hungarian community there is half a million strong, and a large Slovak community lives in Hungary, he said.

“Today we can talk about what connects us, not about what separates us,” he said.

He said the Slovak electorate had put its trust in “the person with whom we have been able to recognise this” and “he may even have a chance to lead this country in the coming period.”

Szijjarto said Hungary was optimistic about future bilateral cooperation and both would act to jointly represent “our national interests and original European values”.

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