Photo: MTI

Hungary, Slovakia open new bridge over River Ipoly

Hungary and Slovakia on Friday opened a new bridge over the River Ipoly linking the border villages of Orhalom and Vrbovka (Ipolyvarbo).

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said the bridge was co-financed by the European Union and cost 2.5 billion forints (EUR 6.6m) to build.

Whereas in 2010 Hungary and Slovakia had just 22 border crossing points, they now have 39, the minister said. The 40th border crossing will be opened early next year at Dregelypalank, he said.

Hungary and Slovakia both attach strategic importance to having ways to cross the border legally, Szijjarto said, adding that this was especially true given that Hungary’s longest border section was the one it shared with Slovakia, its third most important trading partner.

As regards the formation of the new Slovak government, Szijjarto noted that in 2014 it had been the governments of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Slovakia’s Robert Fico that had signed the agreement on the construction of the bridges on the Ipoly being completed now.

He said the latest bridge would shorten the travel time by car between Vrbovka and Orhalom from at least half an hour to a few minutes.

Szijjarto said the bridge’s opening demonstrated the two countries’ “excellent utilisation” of European Union funds.

Meanwhile, the minister said that after a time of “political hatred” between the two countries, cooperation between Hungary and Slovakia was now “a success story based on mutual respect”.

The two countries, he said, supported each other in key matters and contributed to each other’s economic growth and physical security.

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