President János Áder said Hungary and Slovenia are both among the European Union member states with the lowest number of novel coronavirus cases and fatalities relative to their respective population sizes.
Following talks with his Slovenian counterpart in Budapest, the president said the timely and effective measures introduced in the fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic had a substantial impact in both countries.
“We discussed the economic impact of the epidemic in the two countries and the steps we intend to take on our own and as members of the EU in order to overcome the harmful effects [of the epidemic] as soon as possible,” the president said.
In response to a question, President Áder noted that travel restrictions between the two countries have been lifted completely. “Life in Hungary has returned to normal; people aren’t afraid, and they’re making use of services as they did before the crisis,” he said. “We were also in agreement that protecting Europe’s external borders is of key importance, as is stopping illegal migration,” he said.
The two leaders described both their personal relationship and ties between their two countries as “very good”. Talks touched on continuing bilateral cooperation on regional economic development and improving infrastructure links between their border regions, they said. “We’re committed to preserving our natural assets,” President Áder said. “We are close to the completion of a biosphere reserve along the Drava, Mura and Danube rivers,” he said, noting that the project had been initiated by Hungary and Croatia, and was later joined by Austria, Slovenia and Serbia. The countries involved hope to advance the procedure of having the reserve recognized by UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural body.
President Áder said he and Pahor had also discussed the Trianon Peace Treaty under which Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory to neighboring countries after the first world war. The president underscored that Hungary had always complied with every international treaty and would continue to do so. He highlighted education, the support of businesses and infrastructure development as key areas of cooperation between Hungary and Slovenia.
“The regional economic development model launched ten years ago in the Raba region has been successful,” President Ader said, adding that expanding the scheme was in Hungary and Slovenia’s shared interest. Support for the Slovenian minority in the region has quadrupled over the past ten years, he said.