The Hungarian stretch of the Via Carpatia, a transport corridor connecting the Baltic and Aegean Seas, will be completed before the end of the year, President János Áder said after meeting his Polish counterpart in Budapest. The Hungarian section will cover 230km of the 3,300km motorway, Áder told a press conference he held jointly with Andrzej Duda.
Áder said central Europe in the past had been at an infrastructural disadvantage compared with the rest of the continent, noting the region’s underdeveloped railway, energy, and digital networks prior to 1990 and in the early 90s.
On another subject, Áder said Poland was Hungary’s fourth most important trading partner, adding that the annual bilateral trade volume was worth ten billion euros. Fully 100 Polish companies operate in Hungary, employing some 13,000 people, the president added.
Áder also touched on the situation on the Belarusian-Polish border, noting that the surge in migrants crossing the border illegally has led to Poland having to declare a state of emergency in its border regions. Áder said the recent developments in Afghanistan were likely to result in even greater migration pressure on Poland, noting Warsaw’s decision to build a fence along a 370km stretch of its border.
The president said Hungary had offered to share with Poland its experiences in the construction and operation of its own border fence.
Meanwhile, Áder noted that Duda will pay another visit to Budapest in November for the Visegrád Group presidential summit. The V4 heads of state will then meet in the Hungarian capital again at the Planet Budapest 2021 sustainability expo, he added.
In response to a question, Áder said he will present his Polish counterpart with the Hungarian Order of Merit, Grand Cross with the chain and golden radiant star for his efforts to strengthen the friendship between their two countries, advance V4 cooperation, and his commitment to launching the Three Seas Initiative.
The Polish president said that Poland takes responsibilities of protecting the European Union and Schengen borders “very seriously”.
Duda said he had provided detailed information to his Hungarian counterpart about the crisis at the Poland-Belarus border and assured Áder that Poland would use all possible means to protect the borders. Duda also thanked Áder for the assistance in border control Hungary had offered, adding that Hungary’s experience was appreciated.
He noted that during the 2015-16 migrant crisis the Polish army had sent troops to help protect the Hungarian and external EU borders.
Duda also informed Áder about the status of the Via Carpatia construction in Poland, adding that the 530km stretch was being built according to plan. He said that the new route was crucial for Europe’s road systems and its completion would be a milestone in road transport. He welcomed Áder’s announcement that the Hungarian stretch would be completed this year and suggested that Poles could use it to reach their holiday destinations as early as next summer.
Duda also welcomed the increasing activity of Polish companies in Hungary and vice versa. He said he hoped that the trend would further increase once the coronavirus pandemic was over, and he noted the recent formation of the Polish-Hungarian economic chamber and how it would further strengthen bilateral ties.
Duda said he was looking forward to attending a V4 presidents’ summit planned for November.
Featured image: President of Poland Andrzej Duda and President of Hungary János Áder. Photo by Noémi Bruzák/MTI