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Statement by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán after his talks with Prime Minister of Slovenia Janez Janša

Balázs Beregi: Prime Minister, you had a meeting with your Slovenian counterpart. Could you briefly summarise what you talked about?

Let’s start perhaps with gestures. At the time of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Hungary was in a position to be able to offer help to those of its neighbours who were in most trouble – and at that time the Slovenians were in a great deal of trouble. So we also helped them out. Slovenians are a grateful nation, and they haven’t forgotten this. So today there was an intimate little ceremony to mark the assistance Hungary provided. I was presented with a document – though in fact it was not for me, but for Hungary and the people of Hungary – to commemorate the fact that while we were also in trouble, we didn’t forget to help our neighbours when we could. Naturally I also said that they would do the same: if the situation were reversed, we would naturally count on the Slovenians. So this clearly shows that today the tone – the underlying tone – of Slovenian-Hungarian relations is much better than at any time in the past. The Prime Minister and I agreed that while both prime ministers and both governing parties are part of the European Christian Democrats, and this helps governmental work, we will keep interstate relations distinct from party issues: we will lay long-term foundations for Slovenian-Hungarian cooperation which will remain strong and enduring, regardless of the party family the governing parties or prime ministers of the day belong to. The most important thing is links between the two countries. Regrettably this is a slightly neglected area of Hungarian foreign policy. There is still no high voltage power link with Slovenia, despite the fact that we agreed on this earlier. We have completed our part of the deal; perhaps now things will get moving, and we’ll implement this. There is a half-finished gas pipeline development programme. If Hungary wants access to Italian gas pipelines, it can do so via Slovenia. This is another stalled programme. Our air transport links are rather rudimentary, and the transformation of aviation is also in progress. The Port of Koper is a very sensitive issue for us, as is the construction of the railway line leading there. We are happy to be involved in this, because while we bought part of the port of Trieste, we are also interested in Koper, if this is acceptable to the Slovenians. So clearly there are issues on the table that will lay the foundations for long-term strategic cooperation. We have started solving these issues, but it will take a few months to develop the final form of these solutions. Nonetheless, as I see it we can count on being able to build sincere long-term neighbourly relations between Slovenia and Hungary. In addition to the provision of assistance, the spiritual foundations for this could be formed by our national communities, as there is a Hungarian national community living in Slovenia and a Slovenian national community living in Hungary. We cooperated well in this area with previous governments, and now we have agreed to continue and extend these programmes. So Hungarians living in Slovenia and Slovenians living in Hungary will live their lives with improved conditions in school systems, cultural provision, transport and opportunities for crossing the border. And we also managed to agree on some points regarding the economic development of this region, the region we refer to as Mura–Lendva [Mura–Lendava]. So I can go home from Slovenia with the best of news, and in good spirits. Perhaps I’ll be able to stop at Lendva and visit Hungarians living there – but we’ll decide on that later this evening.

Thank you very much.

Thank you, too.