Budapest, February 11 (MTI) – Cooperation between Hungary and Serbia has never before been as balanced as it is today and bilateral relations have never been as good as now, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Wednesday.

He told a press conference after talks with counterpart Ivica Dacic that the two countries had come a long way and good relations between countries are extremely valuable in a fast-changing world.

Serbia can contribute to Hungary’s efforts to enforce its geopolitical interests in the region, such as achieving peace, expanding trade ties and ensuring energy security, Szijjarto said. Commenting on trade, he said bilateral turnover had increased significantly in recent year and to further boost this, the Hungarian Trading House and Eximbank will open a representative office in Belgrade and help small and medium-sized companies develop bilateral cooperation.

He said Hungary and Serbia will prepare feasibility studies by April 15 on the upgrade of the Budapest-Belgrade rail link and the Chinese partner will provide a financing proposal so that construction can start before the end of the year.

Commenting on energy security in central Europe, he said this area was an all-European responsibility and due to the cancellation of the South Stream project the EU must support alternative schemes.

Hungary supports Serbia’s aspirations for EU integration because the stability of the region is important, Szijjarto said.

Dacic said the improvement in bilateral relations was down to the determination of the countries’ leaders in the past two or three years. Some serious long-lasting conflicts have been successfully resolved, which is an “achievement of historic value”, he added.

Serbia is interested in maintaining good relations with Hungary and is ready to further improve them and jointly identify shared interests to achieve concrete results, Dacic said.

He said the talks with Szijjarto covered the opening of crossings on the Hungarian-Serbian border. It is in Serbia’s interest to have more crossings but sufficient controls are needed to fight crime and illegal migration, he said, noting that the target country of illegal immigrants from Kosovo is neither Hungary nor Serbia, so the EU should take this issue more seriously.

Szijjarto said Hungary will handle this issue in line with the country’s economic and social interests and in keeping with Hungarian and EU regulations. He reiterated that the problem must be tackled at EU level.

Photo: MTI


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