The foreign minister has announced that Hungary will expand its cross-border economic development scheme aimed at helping ethnic Hungarian communities beyond the border to Szeklerland, Romania.
Following talks with Hunor Kelemen, head of the ethnic Hungarian RMDSZ party, in Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvár), Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foregin Affairs and Trade, said the program so far has only been implemented in Mureș County, targeting farmers and small companies.
The minister said the Hungarian government disbursed 1.5 billion HUF (4.7m EUR) to the region’s farmers and entrepreneurs in 2017, adding that the 800 grant applications that have been submitted this year were still being assessed.
Minister Szijjártó also noted that the government will allocate 50 billion HUF for economic development schemes in next year’s budget, a significant chunk of which will be geared towards Transylvania and Szeklerland.
The minister also lamented the Romanian government’s failure to approve the opening of a Hungarian cultural institute in Cluj-Napoca. He said the Hungarian government would gladly support the opening of a Romanian cultural institute in any Hungarian city.
Minister Szijjártó said it was important for Hungary and Romania to achieve “success stories” together, arguing that this would create the trust that could allow the two countries to pursue solutions to any sensitive issues between them.
The minister welcomed progress made in sensitive areas, such as relaunching the Catholic secondary school in Târgu Mureș (Marosvásárhely).
Minister Szijjártó and Kelemen reviewed the “problematic issues” between Hungary and Romania during his visit. Kelemen said Romania’s ethnic Hungarian community was interested in continuous dialogue between the two countries and called for their strategic partnership to be strengthened.