Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto inaugurated the new headquarters of Hungary’s diplomatic mission in Bratislava on Tuesday. He also reacted to the recent remarks of Belgium’s Prime Minister concerning migration.
After the two-year project’s completion, the complex comprises an embassy, a consular office, a trade mission and a cultural institute in a rebuilt historic building in the Slovak capital’s old town. Addressing the inauguration, Szijjarto called Slovakia a friend and important ally. He added that the Visegrad Group (V4), to which both countries belong, “is Europe’s most successful alliance”.
The new headquarters duly reflects how highly Hungary values ties with Slovakia and how the two countries are bound by links on multiple levels, Szijjarto said. The V4 has demonstrated its economic and political strength, the foreign minister said, calling the group “an engine of economic growth” of the European Union and a politically influential player in the bloc.
Hungary and Slovakia have stabilised their ties, paving the way to resolving contested issues, he said. The two countries have opened several new border crossing points and connected their gas pipeline networks, he noted, adding that the construction of a new Danube bridge connecting Komarom and Komarno is under way. Annual bilateral trade amounts to close to 10 billion euros, he said. Ivan Korcok, Slovakia’s state secretary for foreign affairs, praised bilateral relations as “excellent” and prevalent in all areas. Szijjarto and Korcok held bilateral talks after the ceremony.
Szijjarto rejects Belgium PM ‘coercion’
The Hungarian government rejects Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel’s “ultimatum” on migration, Szijjarto said, in reaction to Michel, who said in an interview with Belgian news site Le Soir on Saturday that Visegrad countries that “refuse to act in solidarity [with the rest of the EU] are being given an ultimatum”. Unless they come to a consensus on the matter at the European Council heads of government by June this year, the debate will be decided by a simple majority, Michel said.
Hungary has never been a country of immigrants; neither does it intend to become one, Szijjarto told a press conference in Bratislava, where he met Slovak foreign affairs state secretary Ivan Korcok. Michel’s “ultimatum” is “coercion”, and Hungary will never yield to it, he said. Michel’s statement is “shocking” because it is the first occasion when Brussels openly prepares for pushing through the migration quotas, “with complete disregard of certain EU countries’ opinions”, Szijjarto said. “We find this unacceptable and refuse it,” he said. The Visegrad group is concerned by the “27 terrorist attacks perpetrated by people with migration backgrounds in Europe recently and the no-go zones in certain European cities, even if the Belgian prime minister is not concerned by them,” he said.
Korcok said the Visegrad group should not once again allow “them to vote over our heads”.
Discussing energy security, Szijjarto informed Korcok on the Hungarian-Romanian agreement to establish the technical conditions for gas exports to Hungary by 2020. From 2022, large volumes of gas extracted on the Black Sea will be available to Hungary, Szijjarto said. He added that Hungary is to start the construction of a gas pipeline between the Hungarian distribution hub and the Hungarian-Slovak interconnector. The 100-kilometre pipeline will be the last section of the “north-south energy corridor”, creating a chance for Slovakia to purchase gas from Romania, the minister said.
Source and photo: MTI