FM: Hungary-Serbia relations are at their historic best

Minister Szijjártó said that ethnic Hungarians were a focal point for Hungary’s foreign policy.

Peter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said Hungary-Serbia relations are at their historic best, as ethnic Hungarian communities beyond the borders represent a resource in cooperation with neighboring countries.

After meeting Bálint Pásztor, head of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (VMSZ), Minister Szijjártó said that ethnic Hungarians were a focal point for Hungary’s foreign policy. This is why an ethnic Hungarian community leader gets invited to the meeting of ambassadors every year, which has been the case also this year, the minister said. He congratulated Pásztor on his party’s performance at the elections in Serbia in December and said the results represented a great achievement, especially in the current period full of challenges. “Serbia, Vojvodina and the VMSZ prove together that it is a correct foreign policy strategy to develop as good relations with neighbouring countries as possible,” said Szijjártó. “Because the better the relations are with a neighbouring country, the better the situation of ethnic Hungarians living there will be,” he added. “Vojvodina Hungarians are proof that it is correct to consider Hungarian communities beyond the borders a resource in building good bilateral relations,” Szijjártó said. He said that in planning its foreign policy strategy, the government always gives priority to building good relations with neighbouring states and always stands up for ethnic Hungarian communities living there. The minister highlighted VMSZ’s role in developing Hungarian-Serbian cooperation, pointing out the alliance’s proposal on a comprehensive economic development programme in Serbia’s northernmost region. He noted that the Hungarian government has so far supported 14,000 local businesses with 80 billion forints (EUR 203m) that has generated investments worth 170 billion forints, and pledged the continuation of the programme. Szijjártó said that cross-border infrastructure also played an important role in bilateral relations, which is why on VMSZ’s request a decision had been made to keep the Röszke-Horgos 2 border crossing open 24 hours a day. Additionally, the development of a border crossing at Hercegszántó will be started in the near future, with the help of Interreg resources, he said. Szijjártó also said that during its upcoming EU presidency, Hungary’s government will focus on speeding up EU enlargement and fighting illegal migration. “Hungary has always stood on Serbia’s side when it comes to EU enlargement and would like to have Serbia as a member of the EU as soon as possible, which would also serve the interests of Vojvodina Hungarians,” he said.