Europe’s external borders must be protected while the internal borders should be kept open, President János Áder said in Ljubljana on Friday after talks with Borut Pahor, his Slovenian counterpart.
At a press conference after the talks, Áder also called for “stricter than ever before” measures against humans smugglers.
Parties at the talks agreed that countries where migrants come from should be assisted “from EU sources but involving third countries”, while assistance should also be provided to countries accommodating millions of refugees such as Turkey, Jordan or Lebanon. Such measures would be aimed at “weakening the urge for migration”, the president said.
Concerning bilateral talks, Áder said that
Hungary “wants to remain a good neighbour and predictable partner” and noted that bilateral trade was dynamic, while a mutual goal was to improve the trade infrastructure.
He added that the motorways of the two countries would be linked with the completion of the last Hungarian section by the end of 2019, and a year later the power grids of Hungary and Slovenia would also be connected.
Speaking on another subject, Áder called it important in terms of European security policy that countries of the Western Balkans should join the community “following a clear scenario”. He said it was a shared objective that direct agricultural subsidies should stay at the same level, and argued that countries that joined the community at a later date need those funds to close the gap with older members. Slovenia and Hungary joined the EU with some delay and had to compete with countries that had been helped to a better position, he said.
Asked about the EU’s Article 7 procedure against Hungary, Áder said that the procedure had just been launched and that he was “interested to see its outcome”. Hungary would react after the European decisions are made, he said.
At the press conference,
Pahor made special mention of Slovenians in Hungary and his country’s Hungarian minority. He said he had met ethnic Slovenians from Hungary, who had praised the Hungarian government’s efforts concerning minorities.
He requested that Hungary should create more jobs to encourage ethnic Slovenian youth to stay in their homeland along the river Rába. Slovenia also seeks to help its ethnic Hungarian community, he added.
Pahor also praised economic cooperation between Slovenia and Hungary, and said that the turnover of goods and services would soon reach an annual 2 billion euros. He said the high turnover was “a sign of very close cooperation”.
Áder also met Dejan Zidan, the speaker of Slovenia’s parliament, and had talks primarily focusing on climate change.
Áder and his host inaugurated a bench dedicated to the friendship between their peoples in the castle of Ljubljana, next to a similar bench of Slovenian-Croatian friendship. Áder also laid a wreath of commemoration at a plaque of count Lajos Batthyány, martyred prime minister of the first independent Hungarian government in 1848-49, in the castle.