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Nov 21, 2016

Hungary repairs relations with Serbia

Both governments and both prime ministers have done much to replace an earlier tense relationship with one of cooperation

Hungary has taken steps to build trade, cultural and political ties with Serbia during a cabinet meeting between the two countries on Sunday, according to officials.

The relationship between the nations has "never been better”, Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said. He added that both governments and both prime ministers have done much to replace an earlier tense relationship with one of cooperation.

Hungary is committed to the European Union’s expansion in the Western Balkans, he said. “We don’t understand why the president of the European Commission recently said there would be no expansion in the coming five years,” he said.

“We want to see an expansion of the EU in the coming five years, and Serbia has the best chance to become an EU member the soonest,” he added.

Minister Szijjártó noted that Hungary’s government has allocated 20 billion HUF in grant money and 30 billion HUF in preferential credit for economic developments in Serbia’s Vojvodina region, home to a large number of ethnic Hungarians.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said that economic and political ties between Serbia and Hungary are extraordinarily good.

He also voiced his appreciation of supportive remarks by Hungary’s prime minister and foreign minister in international forums.

“For us, that is enormous political capital,” he said. In addition to economic cooperation, Serbia and Hungary can work together in the areas of education, culture, infrastructure and energy, Dacic said.