Doorstep press statement by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán following his meeting with Peter Pellegrini, Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic

11 March 2024, Budapest

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Today Hungary has had the honour of being visited by the Speaker of the Parliament of Slovakia, who is well known in Hungary, having earlier served for some years as Prime Minister of Slovakia. And we Hungarians have good memories of that period, so I can say that here in Budapest I have been able to welcome an old friend. Clearly Slovaks know and see that we live in an age of dangers, and in such times good neighbourly relations become more valuable. And from the outset I would like to underline that I have promised the Speaker that Hungary will continue to do everything in its power to be a good neighbour to Slovakia. We also discussed serious political issues. We touched on the problem of sovereignty. We are facing difficult times. In Brussels they want to deprive EU Member States of the right to maintain the need for unanimity on certain issues and the right of veto, including on foreign policy. On this matter we both stand on the ground of sovereignty. I thanked the Speaker for Slovakia’s help in defending Hungary's southern border, because Slovak police officers were sent to Hungary's southern border during Speaker Pellegrini's term in office. And the reason that today there are not tens or hundreds of thousands of unmonitored migrants of all kinds roaming around Central Europe is because we have received assistance in defending our southern borders. And I also have good memories of when we fought together against the mandatory quotas, with which they wanted to resettle migrants in our countries. I would like to inform the Slovak people that we are also cooperating on energy. Energy freedom – including investment in nuclear – is equally important for both countries. I thanked the Speaker for the eighteen new border crossings we have been able to open on the Slovak-Hungarian border since 2010. And then we also talked about the most important thing, because the most important issue today is peace. It is with concern that we Hungarians are watching what is happening: hundreds of thousands of people dying, hundreds of thousands being widowed, hundreds of thousands of children being orphaned, and the whole of Europe speaking the language of war. And we cannot see the end of this war, which is right here in a neighbouring country. So we are looking for peace-loving friends, and I am very happy that Slovakia, alongside Hungary, is also speaking with the voice of peace. I have assured the Speaker that Hungary will stand by its peace policy, and I would like us to work together for peace. And finally, I would like to mention that I was also able to work with Speaker Pellegrini when he was Prime Minister. Apart from the fact that our cooperation was also excellent on a personal level, taking a level-headed overview we can say that during our period of governing in parallel the distance between our two peoples decreased, friendship strengthened, and we found common ground on which to build good neighbourly relations. I will be happy if this can continue for a long time, and we can continue to work together.