Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó received the title of honorary citizen from the eastern Slovenian town of Lendva (Lendava) on Thursday.
After receiving the award from Mayor János Magyar, he said it was a great honour, especially considering that he was the second Hungarian foreign minister after János Martonyi to receive it.
On behalf of Hungarians, Szijjártó greeted Slovenia on the 30th anniversary of its independence and said that central Europeans had a special appreciation of the importance of freedom.
Szijjártó said recent difficulties linked to the pandemic made it especially clear that nations in the region live in interdependence and this further confirmed two targets of Hungarian diplomacy: to maintain good relations with neighbours and to continually strengthen ethnic Hungarian communities across the borders. He added that thanks to the current political situation, “these two targets do not contradict each other but exist in harmony”.
Cooperation between Hungary and Slovenia is based on mutual respect and true friendship, he said.
“We know full well that the better it goes for our neighbours, the better it is for us also,” he added.
The support of Hungarian communities across the borders remains a cornerstone of Hungarian foreign policy, Szijjártó said.
The government has so far supported 651 companies investing a total of 3.7 billion forints (EUR 10.5m), he said.
During the visit, Szijjártó met Ferenc Horváth, a Slovenian MP representing the Hungarian minority, and said that the Hungarian government was planning to set up a community centre for ethnic Hungarians in Lendva. He also laid the cornerstone of a new football academy in the city, and pledged 120 million forint grant for the reconstruction of the city’s Catholic church.
Featured photo via Péter Szijjártó’s Facebook page