Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, joined his Romanian counterpart over the weekend to inaugurate the second motorway border crossing between the two countries.
According to MTI, Minister Szijjártó said that the new link was a “shared success”, a basis for building “trust and mutual respect” between the two sides of the border. “On this basis even thorny [bilateral] issues could be resolved and concluded,” he added.
The new section between Nagykereki and Borş, in Romania, links Hungary’s M4 and Romania’s A3 motorways. The new border crossing is the twelfth between the two countries,
Minister Szijjártó noted that quality infrastructure is key in fostering neighborly relations, he said. The third motorway crossing between Romania and Hungary is planned to open in 2024, between Csenger and Satu Mare (Szatmárnémeti).
The minister noted that Romania is Hungary’s ninth largest trading partner and its fourth largest export market. Infrastructure developments will also benefit Hungarians living in Romania, he said. A high-capacity natural gas interconnector is planned to start operation next year, and high-voltage electric cables will also be connected in the near future, he said.
Minister Szijjártó emphasized the importance of cooperation between Hungary’s Hajdú-Bihar and Romania’s Bihor (Bihar) counties and of ethnic Hungarians voting in Romania’s local elections. Speaking to the media after talks with the leaders of the ethnic Hungarian RMDSZ party’s Bihor County chapter in Oradea (Nagyvárad), Minister Szijjártó said the newly inaugurated motorway links between Budapest and Oradea as well as Debrecen and Oradea would open the door to new development opportunities.
“One important goal is to create electrified rail links between Debrecen and Oradea as soon as possible,” the minister said. “The feasibility study for this project has already been completed in Debrecen. We’re prepared to support it with government funding and will propose to the Romanian government that we also make use of the funds offered by the European Union.”
Concerning the novel coronavirus pandemic, Minister Szijjártó said the reason why Hungary has closed its borders to foreigners was so that it could avoid having to impose internal restrictions again to contain the virus. Out of Hungary’s seven neighbouring countries Romania is the only one with which Hungary has kept all its operational border crossings open, he said. “It was at the request of RMDSZ that we decided to keep every one of these border crossings open,” Minister Szijjártó said.
In regards to an agreement signed between the Hungarian government and RMDSZ’s Oradea chapter, Minister Szijjártó said the next round of Hungary’s economic development scheme aimed at helping ethnic Hungarian communities in Transylvania will focus on north-western Romania. The government has so far disbursed some HUF 70 billion (EUR 195.1m) among 6,000 applicants, generating 130 billion forints’ worth of investments, he said. Szijjaártó said he had agreed with Senator Attila Cseke, head of the Bihor County chapter of RMDSZ, that Hungary will provide financial support to local Hungarians and the Reformed Church in Oradea to help them purchase school buildings and build dormitories for Hungarian students.
The minister also asked ethnic Hungarians living in Oradea and Bihor County to take part in Romania’s local elections, saying the election would also impact their lives and future. “It would be nice if the proportion of the local Hungarian population and their share in political representation were brought into balance,” Minister Szijjártó said. “It’s important for us Hungarians to be united. It’s important that we support the biggest Hungarian political organisation with the best chance of winning in the election, since it’s our only chance for stronger representation here in Oradea, Bihor County and all of Romania.”
Minister Szijjártó also received an award from RMDSZ for his efforts in helping ethnic Hungarians in Romania.
Photo credit: debreciner.hu