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Oct 18, 2017

Hungary's FM: We have the best economic and diplomatic relations with Serbia out of all neighboring countries

The foreign minister said that Serbia is Hungary’s top economic partner in the western Balkans and relations will continue to prosper in the years ahead

Hungary’s foreign minister has said that the country has the best diplomatic and economic relations with Serbia out of all neighboring countries.

Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, made the remarks after a meeting of the Hungarian-Serbian mixed economic committee in Subotica on Tuesday.

The minister added that Serbia is Hungary’s top economic partner in the western Balkans and relations will continue to prosper in the years ahead

According to MTI, the committee discussed the upgrade of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line, the construction of a Szeged-Subotica-Baja railway line, the opening of new border-crossing points between the two countries, the expansion of economic and trade relations as well as the development and connection of Hungarian and Serbian gas pipelines.

Minister Szijjártó, the Hungarian chair of the mixed committee, “expressed the government’s appreciation for the Serbian government’s treatment of its ethnic Hungarian minority”, and said Vojvodina’s Hungarian community was a “binding rather than a divisive factor” in the two countries’ relations.

The minister revealed that the two countries had signed several agreements that would boost bilateral trade, including a deal to open two new border-crossing points in 2018.

The minister said that Hungary and Serbia will receive 3 million euros in European Union funds to design the Szeged-Subotica-Baja railway line, and hoped that construction could begin shortly.

Both nations have signed cooperation pacts with Russian gas giant Gazprom, under which a gas transport corridor is expected to be established by the end of 2019, which will contribute to improving energy security for both countries.

Minister Szijjártó also announced that bilateral trade turnover came close to 2 billion euros last year and has grown by 32 percent over the first seven months of 2017, contributing to a 19 percent rise in Hungarian exports.