“The Hungarian Government’s economic development programme in Upper Hungary and other neighbouring countries is extremely successful and will continue”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared in Bratislava following a meeting with the leaders of the Hungarian Community Party (MKP) on Thursday.

At his joint press conference with MKP Chairman József Menyhárt, Hungary’s chief diplomat told reporters: “Encouraged by the success of the economic development programme in Upper Hungary, the Government has established a budget of 10 billion forints (EUR 31 million) for the implementation of the Upper Hungary Economic Development Programme this year”. “The tenders have already been published in Upper Hungary, and concern investment projects that are able to integrate high-value agricultural producers”, he explained, adding that 49 tender applications have already been received at a total value that somewhat exceeds the budget, and these will be adjudicated by the end of May.

Mr. Szijjártó told exporters that he and Mr. Menyhárt had discussed the so-called anthem act and the petition launched by the Hungarian party in Upper Hungary with relation to it. “Hungary continues to have an interest in maintaining a relationship with Slovakia that is based on mutual respect”, he said with relation to the issue. “Just as we are continuously consulting with the MKP with relation to issues that affect the Hungarian community in Upper Hungary, this was also the case concerning this issue” the Minister explained. “The fact that we received correct proposals from the MKP is proven by the fact that the Slovakian President of the Republic vetoed the proposed regulation”, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted.

“Hungary is proud of the national communities living in the country, and on the fact that they are free to use their national symbols, and hopes that a similar situation will come about in Slovakia following the amendment of the anthem act”, the Foreign Minister said. “The two countries are moving towards solutions based on joint successes, and although there remain unsolved issues, the progress is undeniable”, he emphasised.

At the press conference, József Menyhárt reminded the press of the petition launched in recent days by the Upper Hungarian party with relation to the issue, towards which the Hungarian Foreign Minister wished him success. The goal of the petition is for the use of the symbols of national minorities to be given absolute freedom in Slovakia, and for the MKP to be able to begin negotiations on how this may be achieved with the Slovakian Government’s relative ministry. “We would like the law to change in such a way that instead of restoring the state of affairs that existed prior to the amendment, we are instead able to take a step forward”, Mr. Menyhárt said with relation to the initiative.