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László Kövér, the speaker of parliament, inaugurated a bust of 19th century poet and revolutionary Sándor Petőfi with Urška Klakočar Zupančič, his Slovenian counterpart, in Kranj, in western Slovenia, on Monday. In his speech at La Ciotat Park, home to a bust of France Prešeren, who penned Slovenia’s national anthem, Kövér said that though Petőfi and Prešeren had never met, their ethoses had now symbolically found one another through their statues.
Kövér thanked the city of Kranj for joining the inauguration of Petőfi’s bust on the poet’s 200th birth anniversary and the 175th anniversary of the 1848-49 revolution and freedom fight and for the opportunity to honour the memory of Prešeren. The speaker said that in the first half of the 19th century the Hungarian and Slovene nations had “suffered in the servitude of the same western empire”, adding that their poets “were the most eloquent spokesmen of the desire for freedom”. Petőfi’s and Prešeren’s message to Hungarians and Slovenes is that they should never expect freedom to be given to them by western or eastern empires, “because empires can only have subjects who can be deceived, humiliated and robbed at any time”, Kövér said. Freedom for Hungarians and Slovenes in the form of political, economic and cultural self-determination can only come from the democratic Hungarian and Slovenian national states and their cooperation, he said. Klakočar Zupančič said the long-standing friendship between Slovenia and Hungary was made stronger by the care they provide to the ethnic Hungarian and Slovene communities in each other’s countries. She congratulated Kövér and Hungary on the occasion of the anniversary of the freedom fight.