The foreign minister has said that the Hungarian government will go on with its economic promotion program in Vojvodina.
Speaking in Subotica (Szabadka), Péter Szijjártó said that the scheme had so far facilitated investment projects worth a combined HUF 167 billion (EUR 447.2m) in that province. Answering a question, Minister Szijjártó said strategic projects underway would be continued. The Budapest-Belgrade railway will have been renewed by 2025, and the line linking Subotica and Szeged, in southern Hungary, will be opened before the end of this year, he said, adding that the Budapest-Belgrade line’s significance would increase in light of the war in Ukraine because “goods from Greek ports could reach Western Europe via that route”.
Minister Szijjártó said Hungary had supported every single European sanctions package against Russia, but placing sanctions on oil and gas imports would impose a disproportionately high burden on Hungary and in effect hobble the country’s ability to function. Hungary appealed to the EU not to make proposals aimed at restricting gas or oil supplies from Russia in the interest of maintaining European unity, he said, adding that several other EU member states shared Hungary’s position.
Minister Szijjártó noted his own efforts to ensure that aspirants for EU membership such as Serbia should also be exempted from the sanctions concerning Russian energy supplies, adding that those efforts had been successful. Switching over to different suppliers could take years because “you cannot find new routes and new [oil and gas] fields overnight”, he said. Meanwhile, he hailed the outcome of Serbia’s latest election in which Vojvodina’s Hungarian VMSZ party won enough seats in to form its own parliamentary group and President Aleksandar Vučić, supported by the Hungarian community, won another term.
István Pásztor, head of Vojvodina’s Hungarian VMSZ party, said he would soon discuss with Minister Szijjártó the next steps in their cooperation “to continue joint efforts”. “We have retained the axis built in recent years. Hungary-Serbia ties can continue unbroken in the coming period, which could be a top priority for us in view of the times we live in,” Pásztor said.
Photo credit: Facebook/Szijjártó Péter