Helsinki (MTI) – Hungarian-Finnish relations are problem-free and flourishing thanks to shared values and a shared Finno-Ugric identity, Parliamentary Speaker László Kövér said on Thursday.
On the first day of his visit to Finland, Kövér met Finnish counterpart Maria Lohela and first deputy speaker Mauri Pekkarinen, as well as head of the grand committee for European affairs Anne-Mari Virolainen and representatives of the parliamentary groups, the Hungarian parliament’s press chief said.
Kövér also met Prime Minister Juha Sipila, Zoltán Szilágyi added in a statement.
Kövér said links between the Hungarian and Finnish parliaments were regular and diverse. A 17-member Hungarian-Finnish friendly division led by István Vitányi and a separate Finno-Ugric friendly division in the parliament play important roles in maintaining ties, he added.
During the talks, the sides were in agreement that strengthening the European Union was an shared goal, but this should be based on strong member states holding debates as equal partners instead of strengthening Brussels institutions.
“When common decisions are made, every member state’s position must be taken into consideration. We do not want several Europes but a strong Europe,” he said. The opinions of national parliaments should be channeled towards better EU decision-making, he added.
Commenting on economic cooperation, he said this was unfortunately not on a par with the excellent level seen in other areas, including social, cultural and education. The discontinuation of Nokia’s production capacities in Hungary in 2011 has resulted in a significant drop, he said, adding, however, that the Finnish giant built a global technology and R+D hub in Hungary this year, which is reason for optimism.
He ceremoniously granted the Order of Merit Commander Cross with Star to Lohela on behalf of President János Áder in recognition of her efforts to boost friendship between the two countries.