Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our work isn’t over yet, because we’re going to continue with a working lunch. Allow me to respectfully welcome the Prime Minister of Slovakia. It’s always an honour for us to host a high-ranking leader from Bratislava [Pozsony] – especially since Slovakia is such an important country for us. Slovakia is our third most important trading partner: our third largest trading partner after Germany and Austria. Our volume of trade is more than 10 billion euros, and this year growth in that trade is over 9 per cent. We’re happy that Slovak investors have also appeared in Hungary, and as a result the economic dynamic is two-way. Even in the difficult year of 2020 we were able to welcome investors from Slovakia, and this is splendid news.
We’ve reviewed the results of our cooperation over the past ten years. In all modesty we can say that our relations have never been as good as they are now. Naturally, for this one needs two countries that see themselves as prosperous and successful. If you look at Slovakia’s performance over the past ten years, you’ll see that it’s a fantastic success story in terms of economic growth, infrastructure projects and every general economic indicator. And in addition to our own individual successes we also have shared success stories. We’re on the same page when it comes to EU enlargement towards the Western Balkans, we see the issue of migration in the same light, and the Visegrád cooperation is also important for both our countries. Tomorrow we’ll meet in Katowice, and Hungary will try to be the best possible coordinator of the cooperation among the four [V4] countries. We’ve already inaugurated the new bridge at Komárom , and the motorway between Miskolc and Košice [Kassa] will be completed soon. Next week we’ll lay the foundation stone of a new bridge over the Ipoly-Ipeľ river. By 2023 another six border crossing points will have been created. Elements of the electricity grid connecting the two countries have been operational since May, our gas pipelines are also linked, and we’re currently working on increasing the capacity of the related interconnector. Another ambitious plan is a rapid rail link between the capitals of our two countries, which will not only enable high-speed rail travel from each of our capitals to the other, but also to Prague and Warsaw. So the opportunities for economic cooperation show great potential.
We also spoke about our national communities. I confirmed that Slovaks living in Hungary will receive every support they need for the preservation of their cultural, educational and political identity. We’ll also contribute large sums to the establishment of a Slovak cultural centre in Budapest. As this is a sensitive issue, I also asked the Prime Minister to discuss directly with me any difficulties he sees in relation to Slovaks living in Hungary. I thank him for his generosity in showing similar openness with regard to the Hungarians who live in Slovakia. We therefore hope that these Slovak and Hungarian ethnic communities will not divide our two nations, but bind them together.
We now only need a little luck, and then in relaunching the economy we’ll show the world something that few people currently expect. Naturally the top priority now is vaccination, as the pandemic has only ended for those who have been vaccinated. Regrettably, many people in Hungary have still not been vaccinated, and so they continue to remain at risk. But now we’re able to deal not only with healthcare issues, but also with economic issues; and we hope that in both countries the economic relaunch will be successful, and that we’ll have yet another shared success story.
Thank you for your attention.