Hungary-Serbia Relations 'At Historic Best'

  • 7 Mar 2024 6:15 AM
  • Hungary Matters
Hungary-Serbia Relations 'At Historic Best'
Hungary-Serbia relations are at their historic best, as ethnic Hungarian communities beyond the borders represent a resource in cooperation with neighbouring countries, the foreign minister said.

The ministry cited Peter Szijjártó telling a press conference after meeting Bálint Pásztor, head of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (VMSZ), that ethnic Hungarians were a focal point for Hungary’s foreign policy.

This is why an ethnic Hungarian community leader gets invited to the meeting of ambassadors every year, which has been the case also this year, the minister said.

He congratulated Pásztor on his party’s performance at the elections in Serbia in December and said the results represented a great achievement, especially in the current period full of challenges.

“Serbia, Vojvodina and the VMSZ prove together that it is a correct foreign policy strategy to develop as good relations with neighbouring countries as possible,” said Szijjártó.

“Because the better the relations are with a neighbouring country, the better the situation of ethnic Hungarians living there will be,” he added.

“Vojvodina Hungarians are proof that it is correct to consider Hungarian communities beyond the borders a resource in building good bilateral relations,” Szijjártó said.

He said that in planning its foreign policy strategy, the government always gives priority to building good relations with neighbouring states and always stands up for ethnic Hungarian communities living there.

The minister highlighted VMSZ’s role in developing Hungarian-Serbian cooperation, pointing out the alliance’s proposal on a comprehensive economic development programme in Serbia’s northernmost region.

He noted that the Hungarian government has so far supported 14,000 local businesses with 80 billion forints (EUR 203m) that has generated investments worth 170 billion forints, and pledged the continuation of the programme.

Szijjártó said that cross-border infrastructure also played an important role in bilateral relations, which is why on VMSZ’s request a decision had been made to keep the Röszke-Horgos 2 border crossing open 24 hours a day.

Additionally, the development of a border crossing at Hercegszántó will be started in the near future, with the help of Interreg resources, he said. Szijjártó also said that during its upcoming EU presidency, Hungary’s government will focus on speeding up EU enlargement and fighting illegal migration.

“Hungary has always stood on Serbia’s side when it comes to EU enlargement, and would like to have Serbia as a member of the EU as soon as possible, which would also serve the interests of Vojvodina Hungarians,” he said.

Meanwhile, Szijjártó Hails Hungary-Mongolia Cooperation

Cooperation between Hungary and Mongolia is close despite the geographical distance between them, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Facebook.

Szijjártó noted that Hungary had donated vaccines to Mongolia during the coronavirus pandemic, adding that the two countries also cooperate actively in the areas of agriculture and water management, which last year led to a “record trade turnover”.

Hungary offers the most university scholarships to Mongolia relative to the size of its population, he said, noting that 903 students had applied for the 200 available scholarships this year.

He said the two countries had concluded their talks on an air transport agreement, which had been made all the more important by Mongolia having scrapped the visa requirement for Hungary.

Szijjártó noted that Hungary and Mongolia will mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties next year.

He said boosting bilateral cooperation presented an even greater opportunity given that Mongolia has the world’s second-biggest reserve of rare-earth elements.

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