We will cherish and further build the good relations between Slovenia and Hungary, said Hungarian President Katalin Novák at a press conference with her Slovenian counterpart Natasa Pirc Musar in Budapest on Wednesday. Novák said that this is the first time that both countries had a female president and recalled that Natasa Pirc Musar’s first official visit after her election was to Hungary.
The Hungarian President stressed that she and the Slovenian President were in agreement on the Russia-Ukraine war, condemned Russian aggression, and said that a way to peace must be found as soon as possible. To this end, allies must be found, as peace in the region and in Europe as a whole is at stake. She also stressed that Ukraine must not be encouraged to have unrealistic expectations of help, and that Hungary will not send their men and boys to the battlefield.
Novák recalled that there are 150,000 Hungarians living in Transcarpathia, fighting for the restoration of their former rights. She said that Ukraine must act according to European standards if it wants to become a member of the European Union, adding that Hungary had helped 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine.
On the issue of national minorities, the Hungarian President said that the situation in Slovenia and Hungary was exemplary. Both countries are exemplary in showing how members of minorities should be respected and supported.
On the demographic challenge, she said that this affects the whole of Europe and invited the Slovenian President to the demographic summit in Budapest in September.
At the press conference, the Slovenian President said that
it is very important to maintain good neighborly relations and that everything should be done to ensure that Slovenian-Hungarian relations remain at the same high level as before.
President Musar described the economic cooperation between the two countries as exemplary and excellent, adding that Hungary has recently become Slovenia’s seventh most important economic partner.
On Wednesday, the two presidents also visited the Single Parent Center in Budapest, which opened in May 2018, to provide practical support and community for families who are missing a parent. Over the past almost five years, the center has reached more than 28,000 single-parent families with more than 70 services. The second Single Parent Center opened in Buda in March 2022, and there are also Single Parent Clubs in eight rural and eight cross-border locations.
Natasa Pirc Musar (L) and Katalin Novák at the Single Parent Center. Photo: MTI/Balogh Zoltán
Also on Wednesday, the National Széchényi Library (OSZK) opened an exhibition entitled Vivat Szlovénia! / Vivat Slovenija! on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Hungary and Slovenia, which was opened by Presidents Musar and Novák.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Novák said that the directors-general of the two national libraries had signed a cooperation agreement on Wednesday morning at the Sándor Palace in the presence of the two heads of state. The agreement between the two libraries sends the message that not only are economic relations important, but also the strengthening of cultural ties, as this will bring the people of Slovenia and Hungary closer together.
Novák added that the way in which we can contribute to each other’s future also depends to a large extent on how we understand each other’s culture, adding that the sacrificial work of literary translators can help to overcome the language barrier.
Musar highlighted one of her favorite works of Hungarian literature from her youth, The Boys of Paul Street, adding that it was through the novel by Ferenc Molnár that she got to know Budapest and Hungary. According to the Slovenian President, literary translations are a bridge between nations, which is why she welcomed the opening of sister exhibitions on this subject in Budapest and Ljubljana.
Featured photo via Facebook/Katalin Novák