Hungary’s place is at the centre of a reunited Europe, Edmund Stoiber, the former Bavarian state premier, said in an interview to German daily Die Welt.
“Hungary from the very start had a place at the centre of a reunited Europe,” he said.
Stoiber, who is also honorary president of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), said Markus Söder, Bavaria’s current state premier, and Manfred Weber, the CSU leader and head of the European People’s Party (EPP) EP group, had expressed their approval of the Hungarian high state honour that Stoiber received recently.
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Bavaria and Hungary, he noted in the interview published online on Monday, have traditionally enjoyed close economic and cultural ties.
On the topic of the ruling Fidesz party and its place in the EPP — including Weber’s EPP quest to become European Commission president that was not backed by Fidesz — Stoiber said there had been tensions and damage done, “but you can’t get stuck; life goes on.”
Asked whether presenting Söder’s greetings to Orbán during his visit to Budapest heralded a new beginning, he said further discussions would take place between the Bavarian and Hungarian leaders. Söder, he added, saw historically close Bavarian-Hungarian relations as a vital asset.
“What happened has happened, but this is not an obstacle to looking ahead,” Stoiber said, adding that Weber was ready to work with everyone, including Orbán.
Meanwhile, Stoiber said deepening cooperation between Germany and the Visegrad Group would be indispensable, especially in light of Germany’s key role in backing these countries’ EU accession. The Visegrad countries as economic partners, he said, were “much more important to us … than France, the United States or China”.
Featured photo by Tibor Illyés/MTI