The foreign minister said Serbia “should have been admitted into the European Union yesterday”, but the bloc can still make things right “if the country joins tomorrow”.
At a joint press conference with Serbian counterpart Nikola Selaković in Szeged, southern Hungary, on Wednesday, Péter Szijjártó praised the “excellent relations” between Hungary and Serbia, emphasizing the efforts that had gone into “turning historic spite [between the countries] into a historic friendship”, the foreign ministry said in a statement. Both countries have benefitted immensely from this, Minister Szijjártó said, adding that the outcomes of this past weekend’s elections in Hungary and Serbia allowed the countries to continue working together.
Minister Szijjártó said bilateral trade turnover more than doubled in January. Construction on the Budapest-Belgrade rail line is ongoing, the upgrade of the Szeged-Subotica (Szabadka) rail line is set to be completed by the end of the year, and two Hungarian investment projects in Serbia worth a combined HUF 4 billion (EUR 10.7m) are also nearing completion, he said. Minister Szijjártó also emphasised Serbia’s role in Hungary’s energy supply.
On another subject, Minister Szijjártó said Hungary’s ruling alliance of Fidesz and the Christian Democrats had won a record number of votes in Sunday’s general election and would have a record number of seats in parliament. “A week ago everyone was saying that Fidesz would have no chance of winning in Szeged or other major cities,” he said. He added that support for Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić had also reached an all-time high in Sunday’s election, noting that the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (VMSZ) was one of Vucic’s backers and would have a group of its own in the Serbian national assembly. “These two historic victories clearly prove that it is right to represent national interests,” Minister Szijjártó said.
Photo credit: MTI