DIPLOMACY

Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto in Bucharest: We consider Romania a strategic partner


ForMin Comanescu appreciates talks with Hungarian counterpart Szijjarto

Foreign Affairs Minister Lazar Comanescu highly appreciated his Friday’s talks with his Hungarian counterpart, Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto, who has paid a visit to Bucharest.

“I am very glad about the visit paid to Bucharest by my colleague and friend Peter Szijjarto, with whom I had today excellent, action-oriented talks. We have discussed the bilateral relations, in the context of Romania and Hungary being strategic partners and EU and NATO members. We agreed there are really special perspectives to further consolidate the bilateral cooperation, and the cooperation within the aforementioned structures. Our relations should unfold in a real partnership atmosphere,” Comanescu declared in a joint press conference with Szijjarto.

The top Romanian diplomat asserted there is already a special economic cooperation between the two countries, with Hungary the third commercial partner of Romania.

“During our talks, we have identified new ways of encouraging the development of the economic cooperation. We have an excellent cooperation in other, more specific sectors, too – energy, infrastructure, interconnection of energy systems. We have also approached other cooperation fields, when it comes to either culture and education. We strongly share the same approach, namely the special value of Romania having a Hungarian minority, and Hungary a Romanian one, and these communities have a very important bridge role in the further development of bilateral cooperation,” Comanescu mentioned.


Hungarian ForMIn Szijjarto: Officials of former Romanian Gov’t affected bilateral partnership

Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto stated on Friday that his country considers Romania a strategic partner, adding that, even though this partnership was affected by “some officials in the previous government,” once the Romanian government headed by Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos was installed, things got back to normal, although certain issues regarding ethnic minorities still persist.
Szijjarto pointed out that Romania and Hungary are linked by the ethnic minorities living on their territory, by the economic relations as well as the similar views they share on major European issues.

“I believe these three aspects are absolutely sufficient for us to consider each other strategic partners. At the same time, I do not want to hide the fact that, recently, this strategic relationship encountered small problems. We are experiencing the most serious crisis in the history of the European Union, due to migration, and for this reason some officials of the former Romanian government falsely accused Hungary, and Hungary duly responded to the accusations that affected this partnership in a certain measure. I would like to express my gratitude towards PM Ciolos and Foreign Minister Comanescu for this complete change of atmosphere brought by the entry into office of the current Romanian government,” the Hungarian diplomat stated at a joint press conference with Romanian Foreign Minister Lazar Comanescu.

The Hungarian official also added that Budapest was ready to give a new impetus to the collaboration between Romania and Hungary, based on mutual respect.

“We know there are certain problems we should work further to address that refer to aspects related to ethnic minorities living on the territories of our countries. I believe we also need common success stories and, if we will have them, then we will have better chances to be able to also solve difficult problems,” he added.

In his turn, the head of Romanian diplomacy, Lazar Comanescu, added that there have been “critical tones” in the relationship between the two states, but called for the intensifying of the bilateral dialogue.

“In the past there have been certain gestures or ideas expressed including at a political level, that did not help necessarily. We agreed that such critical tones, declarations, came from both sides. The most important thing is for us to work, to make things advance and we convened on this – to intensify our dialogues, to meet very often, for things to advance,” Comanescu stated.

Hungary’s Szijjarto: Hopefully Romania can defend its borders; we build only necessary fences

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Friday in Romania that Hungary will not be building one kilometre more than necessary of the fence to stave off illegal immigrants at its borders, voicing hope that Romania is able to protect its own borders.

“Can anyone tell me how I can meet my obligations under the Schengen Agreement without any physical obstacle, given that there is a flow of 8,000-10,000 illegal immigrants a day on a border portion of hundreds of kilometres? We have not harmed honest people by building this fence. (…) We are not building any extra kilometre of the fence than necessary and we very much hope that Romania is able to defend its own borders and never has to put up with the migrant flow Hungary has faced,” Szijjarto told a joint news conference in Bucharest with Romania’s Foreign Minister Lazar Comanescu.

He added that Romania and Hungary share the opinion on migration that the external borders of the European Union have to be defended.

“There is currently no fence being erected at the borders between Hungary and Romania. It may be needed, but we hope there will be no circumstance in which we have to consider it. We want both Romania and Hungary to be spared migratory pressure in the future that would make ulterior measures necessary,” the Hungarian chief diplomat added.

In his opinion, there is a two-way policy in Europe, because, although politicians are talking very much about migration, nothing is happening to protect the EU borders.

“We have to put a halt to this uncontrolled migration. If Greece is unable to meet this obligation, we will have to create another defence line involving Bulgaria and Macedonia. (…) With all due respect to Greece, if someone fails to meet the obligations arising from EU membership, than there must be consequences because there is a risk of the entire community collapsing. We have to seriously consider the scenario of the southern border of the Schengen area moving to the northern borders of Greece,” said Szijjarto.

He added that Hungary is supporting Romania’s endeavours to join the border-free Schengen Area.

In his turn Romania’s Foreign Minister Comanescu mentioned the importance of cooperation at the level of the European Union for the consolidation of external borders, adding that Romania is one of the main contributors to the FRONTEX agency of the EU.

“It is essential that we work together, both bilaterally, and inside the European Union, in order to consolidate the external borders of the European Union in order to secure the smooth operation of the Schengen Area as well,” said Comanescu.


Romania – second export market as importance for Hungarian economy

Romania is the second export market in terms of importance for the Hungarian economy and since the two economies are so interconnected, Bucharest and Budapest cannot afford not being strategic political partners, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Friday.

According to him, the lack of a strategic partnership between Romania and Hungary would be contrary to the interests of the two countries.

In a joint press conference with Romanian Foreign Minister Lazar Comanescu, Szijjarto announced a series of economic measures taken by Hungary in its relationship with Romania.

In this context, he mentioned the opening by Eximbank Hungary of a credit line of 370 million euros available for the Hungarian and Romanian commercial companies to establish economic ties.

The official from Budapest also announced the opening of six business offices in various cities in Transylvania to promote cooperation between Romanian and Hungarian SMEs.

“We have concluded energy agreements thus contributing to the energy security of the central and south-eastern European space.

As of 2019 we will interconnect in a real manner the natural gas network of Hungary and Romania’s, an important step for the energy security of the two countries. This decision coincides with the fact that the EU offers significant funding for interconnection of natural gas systems in Hungary, Austria, Romania and Bulgaria.

Looking at the EU incapacity to ensure energy safety in this region, we believe it is an important step forward. (…) We have concluded agreements also in terms of road interconnection,” added the head of the Hungarian diplomacy.


PM Ciolos, ForMin Szijjarto voice similar position on migration: consolidation of EU’s external borders

Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos on Friday welcomed visiting Hungary’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto, with the two voicing similar positions on migration management, arguing that consolidating the external borders of the European Union is essential in this respect.

“An exchange of opinions on current European affairs, including migration management, the main challenge currently facing the European Union took place. The two officials voiced similar positions, arguing that consolidating the external borders of the EU is essential,” the Romanian Government reports in a press statement sent to AGERPRES.

In their conversation, the two officials underscored mutual interest in deepening the bilateral relationship between Romania and Hungary, with emphasis on opportunities for economic, energy and infrastructure cooperation. They also voiced interest in the development of regional infrastructure interconnections, which they say is able to strengthen bilateral cooperation and the development of Central and Eastern Europe.

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