Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister, on Friday praised Hungary’s ties with Croatia, saying that the two countries are allies in many strategic issues, take an almost identical approach to several major challenges and rely on each other in crucial problems.
Speaking at a press conference after talks with Gordan Grlic Radman, the Croatian minister for foreign and EU affairs, Szijjártó noted that certain issues, however, cast a shadow on bilateral relations.
Croatia and Hungary continue to press for a focus on border protection in European migration policy, and vindicate themselves the right to decide “whom to allow into the country and whom they want to live together with”.
Both countries are “loud and active promoters” of the Western Balkan states’ accession to the European Union, Szijjártó noted, and see the enlargement as a measure with political, economic and security benefits.
Regarding energy security, Szijjártó said Hungary had proposed improving the region’s energy supply and opening further border crossings between the countries.
A stable energy supply has always been a crucial issue in central Europe, Szijjártó said, albeit the steps taken were too slow, Szijjártó said.
Hungary proposes to “turn a new page” in regional energy supply policy and connect the gas markets of the two countries by Hungary buying a minority share in the liquid natural gas terminal in Krk, and by negotiating procurements together, he said. This would give an opportunity to substantially improve energy security by involving new resources and new routes, he said.
Radman said inter-state relations with Hungary were excellent and noted that Croatia and Hungary’s support for ethnic minorities was “unprecedented”.
Radman noted that Croatia is about to take over the EU’s rotating presidency in January and that the present talks also touched on the presidency’s programme. He called it “regrettable” that the enlargement project is stalling. Croatia will work to give it new momentum and counts on Hungary’s help in the process, he said.
Ahead of the press conference, Radman and Szijjártó signed an agreement on diplomatic training.