During her visit to Kiev, Hungarian President Katalin Novák called on the Ukrainian President to take substantial steps regarding the rights of the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia, the head of state said in an interview with Index on Monday.
“I visited a war-torn country, so the air raid alert did not come as a surprise,” Katalin Novák told the portal in the interview, explaining how she was affected by the fact that she had to be evacuated to a shelter during her visit to Kiev last week. “It was an unfamiliar feeling to go into a bunker,” she added. The president explained that the leaders were escorted with their colleagues to an underground room on level minus 3, where the Counter-Terrorism Center (TEK) staff responsible for their protection monitored air raid alerts via an app.
Novák pointed out that during her recent trip to Ukraine, she had a lengthy personal conversation for the first time with Ukrainian President Zelensky, who thanked her for Hungary’s help and support for the people of Transcarpathia (formerly part of Hungary, now Ukraine).
During the meeting, the Hungarian President emphasized that
it is in the common interest of the two countries that the 150,000 representatives of the Hungarian minority living in Transcarpathia can fully exercise their minority rights.
“I have made no secret of the fact that we need to make significant progress in this regard, she said.
“We have agreed to open a new chapter, we will take substantial and concrete steps in the interest of the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia. We do not need empty words. The members of the Ukrainian minority living in Hungary enjoy very extensive rights, and that is the way it should be,” Novák explained the results of the negotiations. She added that
the Ukrainian President had said they were ready to give what the representatives of the Ukrainian minority in Hungary receive to the representatives of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine as well, which is not a bad starting point.
She also explained to President Zelensky why peace is of utmost importance for us Hungarians. “The savage reality has caught up with us. This war has not only devastated the lives of Ukrainians, but, as Pope Francis said, ‘it has brought conflict into our homes,'” the Head of State stressed.
Novák explained that it is necessary to sit down at the negotiating table, as she does not see a military solution that can lead to long-term and sustainable peace. She added that at the initiative of President Zelensky, a peace formula had been launched involving more than 40 countries, including the EU, the United States, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Turkey, Japan, and Qatar.
As I consider it important for Hungary to be involved in any process that can bring us closer to peace, I informed the Ukrainian President of our intention to participate in the negotiations, which he welcomed,”
stressed the President.
In the interview with Index, Novák also spoke about her meeting with Pope Francis, who received the Hungarian leader immediately after her trip to Ukraine. “The Holy Father is a man of peace who sees Hungary as a place where peace can begin, which his visit to our country had affirmed him of,” the president said. She added that Pope Francis has asked her to continue to advocate for traditional family values in every possible forum and by all available means.
A family-friendly change of course has been taking place in Hungary since 2010. We are ahead of Europe, because the European Union is only now beginning to focus on demography,”
said Novák. The tax system has become more family-friendly, it is easier to raise children while working, and there is more freedom of choice than before. She added that she believes we have not yet exhausted all the possibilities that exist in Hungary.
After her visit to the Vatican, the head of state held an informal meeting in Rome with the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni.
We agree on the main issues: we see illegal migration as a source of danger and we stand by traditional family values. We also know that without the protection of Christian culture we have no future in the long term,”
Novák relayed, adding that she and Meloni had discussed access to EU funds, too. The president stressed that it is also an opportunity for Hungary that Italy has a prime minister “who sees us as a friend and ally.”
Via Ungarn Heute, Featured image: Twitter/Volodymyr Zelensky