Slovakia is the third largest trading partner of Hungary, with trade volume hovering at 10 billion euros despite the coronavirus pandemic, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said on Friday, at a joint press conference with Andrej Dolezal, the Slovak transport and construction minister.
Speaking at the cornerstone-laying ceremony of a bridge over the river Ipoly between Ipolydamásd, in northern Hungary, and Helemba, in Slovakia, Szijjártó said the growing number of crossing points between the two countries had a visible effect on the economy. The government will work the increase their number even further, with the construction of two bridges over the Ipoly, one bicyle bridge over the Danube, as well as a ferry and a road crossing, he said.
The 58m Ipoly bridge is expected to be ready by 2023. Costs are expected to come to 1.6 billion forints (EUR 4.6m), he said.
Of the 35 currently operating official crossings between Hungary and Slovakia, 10 has been built under the current Hungarian administration since 2010, Szijjártó noted.
Slovak investments in Hungary have grown by 64 percent since 2010, showing a return on the efforts invested into improving bilateral ties, Szijjártó said.
Dolezal said bridges aided the mobility of the work force and the expansion of cultural programmes, as well as tourism. The construction of crossings will be accelerated on the Slovak side, he said.
featured image: Fidesz MP Bence Rétvári, Dolezal and Szijjártó at the ceremony; via Péter Komka/MTI