One of the main strategic goals of the Hungarian government’s foreign policy is to improve relations between Hungary and Slovakia, as there are more things that unite the two countries than separates them, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said after receiving Miroslav Wlachovský, his Slovak counterpart in Budapest on Monday.
“We have the longest border with Slovakia and the largest trade flows among our neighbors, we have friends and family across the border, we both use nuclear energy and we both reject illegal migration. For these reasons alone, good relations with Slovakia should be a focus of Hungarian foreign policy,” Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, posted on his Facebook page.
He recalled that while in 2010, there were only 22 border crossing points between the two countries, this year the number will increase to 40.
The politician stressed that Central Europe, as a “community of destiny,” faces similar challenges in the fields of security, energy supply, and migration pressure.
On the first issue, he said that Hungary will participate in air defense tasks in Slovakia on a rotational basis from July 1.
The more secure Slovakia is, the more secure we are, and vice versa,”
He touched on the energy supply crisis too, stressing that both countries are members of the European Nuclear Coalition, oppose negative discrimination against nuclear energy as a cheap, safe, and sustainable means of generating electricity, and insist that the energy mix remains a national competence.
He pointed out that the two sides are helping each other a lot in the field of electricity supply, with the interconnection of grids in both parts of the country now in place.
The minister then touched on EU sanctions against Russia and warned that an important exemption allowing Slovakian oil company Slovnaft, part of the Mol group, to sell Russian oil products in the Czech Republic, would expire at the end of the year.
He stressed that the company had started a huge investment of hundreds of millions of euros to make its Bratislava refinery capable of processing oil from other sources, but that the work would take another year.
We are therefore asking the European Union to extend this sanction exemption by one year,” he underlined.
On the issue of migration, he said that Hungary firmly rejects mandatory EU resettlement quotas. “If we are talking about solidarity, we would like to see efforts to protect our borders as part of solidarity,” Péter Szijjártó said.
“Hungary has spent tens of hundreds of billions of forints to protect the external borders of the European Union, and we have received practically no support from Brussels for this,” he argued.
At the same time, he welcomed the fact that
The Slovak authorities are sending police officers and border guards to help Hungary protect its borders,
adding that joint patrols were being negotiated in order to fight illegal immigration and human smugglers more effectively.