Hungary and Serbia can count on each other, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at the opening of the 89th International Agricultural Fair in Újvidék (Novi Sad) on Saturday.
Sharing the stage with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic at the fair, where Hungary is the guest of honour, Orbán noted that both Hungary and Serbia are strong in agriculture and said the countries are “an important food reserve for Europe”.
He said inflation, the threat of famine in various parts of the world and armed clashes in Ukraine have become the focus of attention, even though both political leaders would “deserve some carefree relaxation under normal circumstances” after recent election victories.
He warned that famine could spark a wave of migration that makes previous ones “pale in comparison” as people leave their homes for Europe not only in hope of a better life, but for survival.
He recalled that the two countries’ upgrade of the rail line linking Belgrade and Budapest had been criticised by many, but now the value of the investment has appreciated as delivery routes across Ukraine have become uncertain.
He added that while doctors and nurses were the heroes of 2020 and 2021, farm workers would be the heroes of 2022.
Orbán said the war in Ukraine had put both countries in difficult positions: Serbia, because it isn’t a member of the European Union, and Hungary because it is.
He added that Hungary and Serbia would coordinate their positions and support each other in international forums no matter what debates may come, inside or outside the EU.
Orbán said Hungary would not accept any decision by Brussels that is “economically unreasonable” and that would raise prices to the point that utilising the farm sector’s full capacity becomes impossible. He added that Hungary’s farm sector, “if well managed”, can supply double the country’s population with food.
featured image: Orbán and Vucic; via MTI/PM’s Press Office/Zoltán Fischer