“The cooperation between Central Europe and Germany fundamentally determines the future of the EU”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared on Tuesday in Berlin at the German-Hungarian Forum held to mark the 30th anniversary of the opening of the border.

“Thirty years ago, we proved that if the Hungarians and the Germans act together and find each other, then that is good for the whole of Europe, and this statement remains true today. And in fact, if we Central Europeans and the Germans cooperate closely, then that is also good for the whole of Europe, and there is a particularly great need for this Central European-German partnership today, when Europe and the unity of the European Union are facing historic challenges”, he said. “The EU accession of the Central European countries has made Europe more peaceful, stronger and more affluent, and the region has become the engine of European growth. Three out of the five most rapidly developing economies in the European Union are countries of the Visegrád Group (V4), and last year trade flow between the V4 countries and Germany exceeded German-French trade flow by 74 percent”, he pointed out.

“In 1991, after winning our freedom and shedding the chains of the communist dictatorships, the Central Europeans called into being the alliance of the V4, so they could struggle together to do away with the remnants of the dictatorship and reinforce each other in the Euro-Atlantic integration process”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade reminded those present “Now that there are several radical changes happening in world politics, the global economy is full of tensions, the approach that would restrict trade is gaining increasing ground, there are continuous security threats in the vicinity of the European Union, and we are facing historic challenges from a political, economic and security perspective alike, we Hungarians and the Central Europeans are ready to participate in finding joint solutions in the interests of enabling the European Union to be strong again”, Mr. Szijjártó emphasised.

According to the Minister, the European Union can be strong again if the nations that make it up are also strong. “Nations that have been weakened, are incapable of defending themselves, and have become removed from their cultural, historical and religious heritage, and a Europe built on such nations, cannot be strong. We Hungarians are proud of the fact that we have preserved our identity, and that out state is one of the oldest in the region”, he said. In Berlin, the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade called for the acceleration of EU enlargement, which would strengthen the community. “The enlargement of the EU must be significantly accelerated, and we must not wait until 2025 for the accession of the Western Balkans; this is also important from a security perspective”, he declared.

Mr Szijjártó called on the EU to give priority to Christian culture, because the EU was built on Christian foundations and values, and “if we move away from that, we can only become weaker”. “It is our common duty to restore the security of the European people. This is vitally important, because hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of people are moving towards Europe”, he stressed. With relation to this he announced that Hungary is launching a 30-million-euro aid programme to support Middle Eastern Christians, and will be realising aid and reconstruction programmes in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq in cooperation with the German Red Cross so that people living there are not forced to leave their homes. Praising Hungarian-German relations, which have a history of over a thousand years, the Minister said there have been many events and crossroads that have raised this friendship to the level of a strategic alliance. “We recently celebrated one of the most important events in our history, in which Hungarian sovereignty and the establishment of German unity became linked to each other. We are proud of having had the opportunity to ply a role in the reunification of Germany, and with it of the whole of Europe”, he said. Mr. Szijjártó pointed out that there are currently 6000 German enterprises operating in Hungary and providing work to 300 thousand Hungarians.