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Orbán: Hungary Aims for Strategic, Long-term Cooperation with Slovenia

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.09.01.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said Hungary and Slovenia are working to ensure there is a strategic basis for cooperation in the long term.

Speaking to journalists in Bled, Slovenia, on Tuesday, Orbán noted that in his talks with Slovenian counterpart Janez Jansa they agreed that the two countries would strive for good neighbourly relations but that it would take a few more months before a concrete plan emerged.

The basis for such a plan will be each country’s support for their respective national minority communities, he said, adding that the bedrock of ties was also the aid Hungary provided to Slovenia during the coronavirus epidemic.

The prime minister said the tone of Hungarian-Slovenian relations was much more positive than ever before.

Orbán said he agreed with Jansa that it was important to keep state relations separate from party ties in the interest of building the foundations for long-term cooperation.

Both ruling parties belong to the European Christian Democrats, Orbán noted, adding that this fact would nevertheless smooth their joint work.

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He said the primary aim was to connect the infrastructure of the two countries, which, he added, was a “somewhat neglected area”. There is no high-voltage electricity connection with Slovenia yet, even though this has already been agreed and “Hungary has done its part”, he said.

Also, the gas pipeline interconnector for accessing Italy’s gas pipeline network via Slovenia remains half finished, he said, adding that air transport connections between the two countries are rather basic, and the issue of building the port of Koper and a railway line were highly sensitive issues. Hungary wants to participate in the Koper project if this suits Slovenia, notwithstanding its purchase of a port in Trieste, Orbán said.

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On the topic of national minority communities, the prime minister said that cooperation with previous Slovenian governments in this area had been good, and he had agreed with Jansa to expand various related programmes, with improvements in terms of schooling, cultural networks, transport and border crossing opportunities.

Featured photo by Vivien Cher Benko/PM’s Press Office