The policy for Hungarian communities beyond the borders is “the soul” of Hungarian foreign policy, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said at an annual parliamentary hearing. He said the government sought to build cooperation with neighbouring countries with a view to improving the situation of ethnic Hungarian communities in those countries. Joint investments carried out in cooperation with neighbouring countries “based on mutual respect” would help to improve the diplomatic atmosphere, thereby helping the Hungarian community, Szijjártó said before parliament’s national cohesion committee. Hungary, he added, had further improved relations with six of its seven neighbours and achieved “common success stories”. “Ukraine is the only exception.”
Regarding cooperation with Romania, the foreign minister noted the agreement signed on reopening and operating two motorways linking the two countries. A third motorway will be built by 2024, Szijjártó said, adding that on the Hungarian side, a rail infrastructure project would be completed in the same year, ensuring an up-to-date link between Budapest, Bucharest and Constanta at the Black Sea.
As regards Serbia, Szijjártó noted the inauguration of the interconnector linking the two countries’ gas networks. He further noted the start of the construction of the Budapest-Belgrade and Szeged-Subotica (Szabadka) rail lines.
Concerning Slovakia, he noted the inauguration of interconnectors of high-voltage power grids and the start of the construction of a bridge between Hungary’s Ipolydamásd and Helemba on the other side of the border.
Szijjártó said that the pandemic “has not taken a heavy toll” on overall trade with neighbouring countries, and this volume had gone up by 20% in the first nine month of the year. He noted that Hungary has donated ventilators, Covid-19 tests, and medical equipment worth 2 billion forints (EUR 5.5m) to various neighbouring countries.