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Dec 20, 2016

Hungary builds relations with Latvia

“Hungary and Latvia have a strong alliance and are in agreement on many important issues concerning the future of the European Union," Minister Szijjártó said

Hungary has held talks with Latvia to strengthen ties between the two nations, it has been reported.

Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, met with his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkēvičs in Budapest in order to discuss pressing matters.

“Hungary and Latvia have a strong alliance and are in agreement on many important issues concerning the future of the European Union," Minister Szijjártó said.

“Hungary and Latvia want a European Union that is built on strong member states, and while we both reject a federal Europe, we agree that common EU politics must continue and EU institutions must remain within the framework provided for by the treaties," Minister Szijjártó highlighted.

“Migration was also a topic of discussion and the two countries firmly agree on the importance of protecting the EU’s external borders and the continued upholding of the Schengen Zone," he explained, adding that "both countries regard the protection of their citizens as their most important duty, and this sometimes requires the construction of fences."

The minister told reporters that he and his Latvian colleague also agreed that cooperation between the Visegrád Group and the Baltic States must be tightened further in view of the fact that preparations will soon begin for the post-2020 EU programming period and in light of the new situation brought on by Brexit.

“Last year the Hungarian Air Force was involved in protecting Baltic airspace and next year the countries of the V4 will be sending 150 soldiers each for rotating 3-month tours of duty in the Baltic region," Szijjártó recalled. “Hungary continues to support Latvia’s non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for the 2026-2027 period," he added.

What's more, Hungary’s Eximbank has opened a 500 million USD credit line to facilitate cooperation between Hungarian and Latvian businesses, primarily within the field of infrastructure development, he told reporters.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said that "the EU must be stronger, and that requires strong member states."

“The security and economic growth of member states must be assured, and cooperation within the EU must be tightened," he said. “It is a good thing that there is a direct air passenger route between Budapest and Riga; the further development of tourism must be supported," he noted.

The Latvian minister also said that in his view there is still much room for the further improvement of bilateral economic and trade relations between the two countries.