Hungarian President Katalin Novák (R) with her Bulgarian counterpart Rumen Radev
The aim is to prevent the war from escalating and military pressure from increasing, said Hungarian President Katalin Novák at a press conference with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev in Sofia on Thursday. Novák said that the meeting with Radev covered issues ranging from the question of indigenous minorities in Ukraine, to Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area, illegal migration, energy issues, and the demographic crisis.
Katalin Novák recalled that in Hungary, members of the Bulgarian minority not only enjoy full rights in their daily lives, but also have a representative in the Hungarian parliament. “This also shows that we are not only committed to supporting minorities in Hungary in financial terms, but we want to give them every opportunity to live and expand their own culture, traditions, and rights. Hopefully this can be a good example for others”, she added.
She stressed that Hungary supports Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area as soon as possible, just as they consider Romania’s accession to be necessary. This is also in the interest of the European Union, she pointed out.
On the energy issue, Novák said that Bulgaria has a better geographic position, easier access to resources, less exposure to others, and a sea exit. She stressed that nuclear energy is a priority for both Hungary and Bulgaria, adding that the 3.5 billion cubic meters of gas coming from the Turkish-Bulgarian-Serbian line is a continuous supply from Bulgaria as a transit country, and this source is also in great demand.
President Novák also addressed the demographic crisis, which is also affecting Bulgaria, as its population has decreased by 13% over the last two decades.
Hungary and Bulgaria will cooperate on the issue of family support, and Katalin Novák invited the Bulgarian President to join the Family-friendly Presidents’ Network and the Budapest Demography Summit.
Bulgarian President Rumen Radev thanked Hungary for its support for the Bulgarian minority, and for the support given not only financially but also in preserving their culture. He said that Hungary is a true European example of tolerance. He also thanked Hungary for its consistent policy of supporting the Schengen accession of Bulgaria and Romania.
Speaking about the Bulgarian minority, President Radev said that there was a large, historically recognized Bulgarian community in Ukraine. He stressed that it was very important for the community living there to be able to pass on their traditions and preserve their identity. In order for Ukraine to be able to join the European Union under the fast-track procedure, at its own request, it is important that it respects human rights and preserves European values, Radev emphasized.
Novák also spoke about the Hungarian minorities in Ukraine, pointing out that the Hungarians living there insist on guaranteeing their rights, but recent amendments to the law are a step in the wrong direction, depriving the Hungarian minority of the exercise of their rights, and a series of actions are taking place in Transcarpathia that are insulting to minorities.
She recalled that she had already written to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to this effect, but had not received a reply. The Hungarian President stressed that if Ukraine’s goal is EU membership, minority rights must be guaranteed. There is joint action on this, as those who are aware of the problem, including the Austrian and Italian presidents, support the cause of the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia, underscored Novák.
Featured photo via MTI/Bruzák Noémi