President Novák pays official visit to Sarajevo

The European integration of the Western Balkans, the EUFOR Althea mission, demographic issues, and economic and cultural relations were topics on the agenda of talks.

Paying a visit to Sarajevo on Tuesday, President Katalin Novák met members of the state presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina before having talks with Borjana Krišto, the country’s Chairwoman of the Council of Ministers.

President Novák noted Hungary’s support for the European integration of the Western Balkans and praised the role of Hungarian soldiers in the EUFOR Althea mission. On Wednesday, she will visit the soldiers participating in the mission lay a wreath on the memorial statue of fallen soldiers and participate in the ceremonial handover of the mission’s command. Novák said that while the EU may be experiencing enlargement fatigue, countries of the Western Balkans must also be included in accession talks which now embrace Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. During its last EU presidency, Hungary made progress in advancing the region’s EU integration, she said, adding that this time round it would be a priority of its presidency in the second half of the year. Defense Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, present at the meeting, said Major General László Sticz, among the most experienced members of the Hungarian general staff, will take over the leadership of the Althea mission. Bosnian leaders said they were keenly interested in Hungarian family-friendly measures. Novák said that a country had no future if no children were born, and Hungary was glad to share its experience in this area. She also highlighted possibilities inherent in the Stipendium Hungaricum programme, which, she said, may contribute to strengthening relations between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Hungary.