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President János Áder met Bulgarian counterpart Rumen Radev and their talks focused on economic relations and European Union issues, the sides said at a joint press conference after the meeting.
Commenting on the four freedoms principle of the EU, Áder said that if the free movement of goods, capital, services and people is taken seriously, then Bulgarian and Hungarian companies should not be squeezed out of certain EU markets, as has been the case with respect to their freight forwarders. Meanwhile, Áder said the EU had not been trustworthy or reliable in recent years regarding integration of the Western Balkans. He underlined the importance of preserving “institutional balance” within the EU, calling on the bloc to “end the creeping expansion of its powers”. On the issue of migration, Áder said Hungary and Bulgaria were on the same page in terms of both principles and practical matters. Commenting on bilateral economic ties, Áder said Hungary was the eighth largest investor in Bulgaria, but had made the second highest amount of investments in the country after the Netherlands last year.
Radev said both countries must insist on getting EU support for energy infrastructure developments. If such developments are neglected, divisions within the EU will further widen, he added. He said Bulgaria and Hungary were partners and allies in the EU, stressing that they shared the same views on the future of the bloc. Radev emphasised the importance of preserving the EU’s basic principles, unity and solidarity, saying that the weakness stemming from divisions within the bloc should be made into strengths. As regards economic ties, he said annual trade turnover between the two countries was more than 1.6 billion euros and the value of Hungarian investments in the country was close to 2 billion euros.
He thanked Hungary for supporting its Bulgarian minority in the preservation of their customs and culture. The president also expressed his gratitude for Hungary’s assistance in Bulgaria’s border protection efforts.