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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Polish President and Hungarian PM discuss regional integration and European elections

  |   Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban visits Poland Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban visits Poland Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban visits Poland Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban visits Poland

Regional infrastructural integration, geopolitical issues and how the new political set-up might look after European parliamentary elections in 2019 were among the issues discussed by Polish President Andrzej Duda and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday.


The Secretary of State Krzysztof Szczerski told he two officials' talks were "very lively," and lasted about an hour, longer than planned.


"It was a very lively discussion, multi-faceted and much longer than planned," Krzysztof Szczerski said. "I have the impression that neither man exhausted the subjects he wished to talk about." He said one of the main subjects of the talks was regional cooperation. "Both politicians put great emphasis on the region's economic integration; they recognised that it's an issue that must be followed up by intensive political relations.


Krzysztof Szczerski noted that to date the Central European region has been perceived more through political cooperation, "but economic and infrastructural integration is needed for real integration and bigger strength of Central Europe." He added that this is a new aspect of Central European politics, which the Three Seas Initiative promotes. The Three Seas Initiative seeks to strengthen ties between the countries lying between the Black, Adriatic and Baltic seas.


"Prime Minister Orban said that he sees in these actions - the infrastructural connection of our part of Europe - a very important role for Hungary, but also for Poland," Krzysztof Szczerski continued, noting that "there is full agreement for that path of Central European policy development," or greater regional cohesion, building infrastructural connections and "looking at the region's role through its economic power, not just through politics."


The second subject of talks was geopolitical issues, how Poland and Hungary relate to their neighbourhood and how they see their position in European geopolitics. The presidential aide reported that the talks touched on Hungarian-Ukrainian relations. Hungary blocked a planned sitting of the NATO-Ukraine commission, foreseen for late April, over a dispute concerning its national minority in that country. According to Budapest, a Ukrainian education law seriously limits the rights of the Hungarian minority to education in their own language.


"Obviously, when we talk about geopolitics in the region, it is impossible not to talk about Russia, but that was not a separate subject for discussion; what was discussed was how each of the countries perceives its neighbourhood," Krzysztof Szczerski explained.


Another important subject of the meeting were European issues, Krzysztof Szczerski stated. "The future of Europe was discussed, particularly in the context of next year, the end of the term of the current European Commission and the prospects for next year's European elections. An assessment of how the new political set-up might look after next year's European elections and a change of the EC was also made," Krzysztof Szczerski informed.


He added that Andrzej Duda had congratulated Orban on his election win and taking on the role of PM once more, noting it was the two politicians' first meeting since the Hungarian parliamentary elections.


Viktor Orban was on an official visit to Warsaw on Monday during which he first met with Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki and was later received by President Duda. (PAP/KG)

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