“Hungary supports the European integration of Kosovo, and Pristina’s efforts to be afforded visa-free travel and membership of international organisations”, Minister of Justice László Trócsányi stressed in a telephone statement to Hungarian news agency MTI following his official visit to Kosovo.

During his visit, the Hungarian Justice Minister met his Kosovan counterpart Abelard Tahiri, with whom he concluded an agreement on the transfer and extradition of prisoners. An agreement was also signed on cooperation the two justice ministries, within the framework of which they will be exchanging experts, and with relation to which Mr. Trócsányi offered a Kosovan expert the opportunity to work at Hungary’s State Secretariat for EU Affairs for a period of two months.

The Minister told the press that he had passed on the Hungarian Government’s great appreciation of Pristina’s efforts to reinforce the rule of law and combat organised crime.

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Mr. Trócsányi also met with Minister of Interior Flamur Sefaj, and stressed that his Kosovan negotiating partners are fully understanding with relation to Hungary’s migration policy.

During his meeting with Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, the Hungarian Justice Minister underlined: “Budapest supports Pristina’s efforts to be afforded visa-free travel and membership of international organisations”. The Kosovan Prime Minister thanked Hungary for its significant presence within the KFOR, the NATO-headed international peace-keeping force operating in Kosovo. 400 of the four thousand strong force are Hungarian, meaning Hungary has the third largest contingent.

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The Kosovan party indicated that Kosovo has an interest in developing more active economic relations, and that there are opportunities for major development projects primarily within the field of water management in view of the fact that providing drinking water represents a major problem in certain parts of the country.

According to Mr. Trócsányi, the Kosovan politicians were also highly appreciative of the fact that 49 students from Kosovo are attending Hungarian universities within the framework of the Stipendium Hungaricum programme.

The Minister indicated at all three meetings that both Pristina and Belgrade are strategic partners to Budapest, and that it is in the interests of Hungary and both of the countries in question for relations between Serbia and Kosovo to return to normal.

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Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade is still not prepared to recognise the new state. Negotiations on normalising dialogue between the two countries began in 2013, with the EU acting as mediator. Mr. Trócsányi highlighted the fact that the normalisation of relations between the two countries is a prerequisite for Kosovo to be able to play a role in international institutions, as well as for countries such as Spain, Romania, Greece and Cyprus, who have still not officially recognised Kosovo, to come to a positive decision on the issue.

As the final event of his visit, Mr. Trócsányi will be holding a lecture entitled “Hungary in the European Union” at the University of Pristina.