Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister, received the Order of the Serbian Flag, 1st Class from Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade on Thursday.
The high state honour has been awarded to Szijjártó in recognition of his role and achievements in building excellent relations between Serbia and Hungary.
In his laudation, Vucic praised Szijjártó’s efforts to improve ties between Serbia and Hungary to the point that “they are now better than ever before.”
He thanked Szijjártó for voicing Hungary’s support for Serbia’s European integration at all European forums.
In his acceptance speech, Szijjártó said he should be accepting the award together with his Serbian counterpart Nikola Selakovic and Serbia’s minister for European integration Jadranka Joksimovic. He added that everyone who has been keeping the Western Balkan region in the focus of Hungary’s foreign policy since 2010 was deserving of the award.
“We believe that the European Union cannot be whole without the Western Balkans and Serbia, and we also know that there are no vacuums in geopolitics,” Szijjártó said. “If we, the European Union fail to integrate the Western Balkans, someone else will integrate the region. After losing the United Kingdom, we don’t wish to lose the Western Balkans, too.”
The minister said the award motivated him to fight even harder for Serbia’s EU integration in the future.
Featured photo by Zoltán Máthé/MTI