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Bucharest, Hungary. Photo: MTI

Hungary is intent on building cooperation with Romania based on mutual respect, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Bucharest on Tuesday.

After talks with his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu, the minister told a joint press conference that ties should build on the reasonable cooperation experienced during the pandemic.

Hungary has a vested interest in strengthening central European cooperation and its bilateral relations are based on mutual trust, he said.

“We treat our partners with respect and, as a nation with a thousand-year history, we expect the same,” he added.

Romania should view the Hungarian community as a resource, Szijjártó said.

Since entering government, Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party has increased budgetary support to ethnic minorities, including ethnic Romanians, five-fold, he said. Under new legislation recently submitted to the Hungarian parliament, ethnic minority organisations in Hungary would become the owners of the buildings they use for educational and cultural purposes, he added.

Hungary welcomes Romania supporting ethnic Romanians in Hungary and similarly considers it natural that Hungary also supports ethnic Hungarian minorities living beyond the borders to succeed in their place of birth, Szijjártó said.

With the help of a Hungarian economic development programme, some investments worth some 250 million euros have been carried out in Romania, he added. Hungary is open to Romania’s request to sign an agreement to continue this programme, he said.

Works to link the gas networks of the two countries are soon coming to an end, he said. Initially, 1.75 billion cubic metres of gas is expected to flow from Romania to Hungary, he added.

A new motorway link is also planned to connect the two countries from August, he said.

Szijjártó said Hungarians should not be the sole topic of Romania’s election campaign and expressed hope that “regrettable remarks” in connection with Hungarians will not be repeated.

Speaking at the same press conference, Aurescu said regarding the upcoming centenary of the Trianon Treaty that their differing historical perspectives needed to be overcome and a strategic partnership built based on mutually beneficial projects.

This requires leaving behind a logic of mutual “provocations” and bilateral relations to be built on mutual respect, he added.

Hungarian officials visiting Romania should refrain from making remarks that go against the spirit of strategic partnership, he said.

The Trianon Treaty has “priority significance” to Romania, representing the international recognition of the Romanian nation assembly’s decisions of 1918, he said. Romania acknowledges Hungary’s right to make its own decisions on commemorating historical events but would like 21st century relations to be defined by building a future in a pragmatic way and in line with a European spirit, he added.

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