FM: Hungary-Slovakia relations are in peak shape

Both governments, the foreign minister said, were interested in developing good neighborly ties with a view to finding similar responses to the serious challenges facing the world today.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said Hungary-Slovakia relations are in peak shape, and both sides have a mutual interest in developing them further.

Addressing a joint press conference with Slovak counterpart Juraj Blanár, Minister Szijjártó said his visit, barely weeks after the Bratislava government was formed, was a clear testament to the “great importance attached to enhancing relations on both sides of the Danube”. Both governments, he said, were interested in developing good neighborly ties with a view to finding similar responses to the serious challenges facing the world today. Both, he added, wanted peace in Ukraine and no solution could be found on the battlefield. Also, both countries wanted a strong and competitive European Union based on strong member states that could preserve their national sovereignty, Szijjártó said, adding that both supported integrating the Western Balkans and they were against the world being divided into blocs.

Regarding joint action against illegal migration, the minister said both countries insisted on deciding for themselves whom to allow in and whom they were willing to live with. Szijjártó said “Brussels can be sure” both countries rejected mandatory resettlement quotas. On the subject of security, he noted that the Hungarian and Czech air forces will protect Slovakia’s airspace from Jan 1, indicating “mutual trust greater than ever before”.

Regarding optimising the permeability of the 654km common border, he said since the 2014 agreement between the two countries’ premiers, Viktor Orbán and Robert Fico, multiple new links have been built. This year alone two bridges over the River Ipoly were inaugurated, while the next will be handed over on Jan 12. Both sides are ready to enter into a new agreement on infrastructure developments, he added.

Regarding energy security, Szijjártó said Hungary and Slovakia were fully behind nuclear energy and the energy mix was a sovereign matter. Neither would agree to sanctions that imperilled their energy supply, he said, adding that Hungarian-Slovak teamwork in negotiating exemptions from the latest EU sanctions package had been noteworthy. “We look forward with great excitement and anticipation to Prime Minister Robert Fico’s visit to Hungary,” he said, adding that this would likely take place early next year. 

Blanár also hailed bilateral ties and expressed sharp protest against “any kind of mandatory EU resettlement quota” or fines for non-compliance. Slovakia, he added, would return to the flexible solidarity it had previously shown, helping to protect Hungary’s southern border by sending police officers there, for instance. On the issue of the war in Ukraine, he said there was no military solution to the conflict, and Slovakia would “demand peace even more loudly”.

Photo credit: Facebook/Szijjártó Péter