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Feb 09, 2018

Hungary-Serbia government summit kicks off today

Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, began proceedings by meeting Jadranka Joksimovic, Serbia’s EU affairs minister

The Hungary-Serbia government summit got well under way today.

Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, kicked off proceedings by meeting Jadranka Joksimovic, Serbia’s EU affairs minister.

Minister Szijjártó emphasized Hungary’s commitment to supporting Serbia’s European Union integration endeavours, “whose success we regard the most important element of securing stability in the Western Balkans”.

The ministers agreed that the Hungarian government would continue to assist Serbia with its EU negotiations.

The minister also stated that Hungary fully supports the Bulgarian EU Presidency in opening as many negotiating chapters as possible with Serbia in the first half of the year.

Minister Szijjártó said that thanks to good political relations, economic and trade cooperation between Hungary and Serbia is also positive. “Political cooperation between Hungary and Serbia has never been as good as it is now,” he added.

The minister said that efforts of the current Serbian president must be recognized for “steps taken towards historical reconciliation between the two countries.”

According to MTI, bilateral trade amounted to 1.9 billion EUR in 2016 and reached 2.3 billion EUR in the first 11 months of last year. The minister said that trade is expected to reach 2.5 billion EUR by the end of this year.

Minister Szijjártó said the two governments are working together on four infrastructure projects. He noted that the upgrade of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line was already under way along the Serbian section while Hungary has invited public procurement tenders for the upgrade on its own side.

Minister Szijjártó also highlighted energy cooperation between the two nations and that Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria have all signed agreements with Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom, under which Hungary will have the capacity to receive 6-8 billion cubic meters of gas via the Balkan corridor following infrastructure upgrades.