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Minister Selakovic: Hungary encourages its companies to invest in Serbia - 18 December 2020

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic said today that Hungary has earmarked EUR 130 million to support 24 companies from this country to invest in Serbia and added that the funding was not only meant for Vojvodina, but parts of our country south of Sava and Danube rivers as well.

At a joint press conference with his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó in Budapest, Minister Selakovic thanked Hungary for giving an impetus to its companies to invest in the Serbian market and pointed out that this would further strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries.

The Serbian Foreign Minister expressed special gratitude to Hungary for the support to our country in European integration process and emphasized that today the voice of Serbia, through Hungary, is heard much louder in Brussels than before. "One day when Serbia formally becomes part of the European family, which it historically already is, Hungary will be among those to whom Serbia will owe the greatest debt of gratitude", Selakovic underlined. He pointed out that this support was visible at all levels of government, from the President of Hungary, through Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, but also to all ministers in the Hungarian Government.

Selakovic also said that his visit to Hungary was the visit to a neighbouring country, with which Serbia promoted good-neighbourly relations into friendly relations in the previous period.

"Today's meeting is an opportunity to affirm those friendly relations and to talk about what binds us and what can bind us even more", Selakovic said.

He stated that during the meeting, they talked about energy and the need for Serbia and Hungary to be better supplied with gas. Selakovic recalled that Serbia has completed the construction of its part of the gas pipeline from the Bulgarian to the Hungarian border, and expressed hope that Hungary will receive gas from the TurkStream in two years, when it builds its part of the gas pipeline.

"In that way, we will make our economies safer and better supply them with gas, and that will also affect the protection of the environment", Selakovic said. The Minister said that gas has no nationality but only a price, stressing that Serbia will buy the gas that has the lowest price, but also the one that can reach our households most easily. According to the Minister, the topic of conversation was also infrastructure - construction of a high-speed railway from Belgrade to Budapest, which should contribute to a better flow of goods, greater competitiveness, but also more frequent, safe and fast travel for tourists.

"We are convinced that the epidemic will not last forever and that Serbs and Hungarians will visit each other, that Hungarians will come to Belgrade and Novi Sad, but also visit south of Serbia", Minister Selakovic said.

The Serbian Foreign Minister also thanked Hungary for the help it provided to Serbia during the coronavirus pandemic, which is another in a series of examples of friendly and good mutual cooperation.

When it comes to national minorities, Selakovic expressed his belief that the Hungarian national minority in Serbia and the Serbian national minority in Hungary were one of the strongest links in the relationship between Serbia and Hungary. He said that he was proud that Hungarians in Serbia, as well as other members of national minorities, have all the rights guaranteed to all the citizens of Serbia. 

He thanked Minister Szijjártó and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for talking about it at all world forums, adding that this was of invaluable importance for Serbia.

Szijjártó: Brussels responsible for Serbia not opening chapters

Minister Selakovic thanked Hungary for having a careful and caring attitude towards the Serbian national minority, and especially towards the Serbian Orthodox Church in Hungary - Diocese of Budim. He said that if one takes into account the entire History of Serbia-Hungary relations the centuries of friendship and cooperation are largely prevailing, adding that this cooperation is today present in all aspects of life.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Péter Szijjártó said that Serbia was this year ready to open five new chapters in its EU accession process, but that neither Serbia nor Hungary, who supports it along the European path, are to blame for the fact that no chapters were opened, but Brussels instead.

"I see no reason for not being able to open those chapters. In the latest meeting with my EU colleagues I asked them what the reason was, and they told me that there was no specific reason and that the reason was political".

He stressed that only Brussels can be held responsible for the fact that chapters were not opened, while expressing hope that the period ahead will see opening of new chapters.

"There is no reason for this not to happen", Szijjártó said and added that if NATO could admit North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania to its membership, he sees no reason for the EU not to do the same with Serbia.

He underlined that Hungary will do everything to help Serbia in the European integration process and become an EU member state as soon as possible. In his media statement, Minister Szijjártó said that Serbia-Hungary relations have never in the history been as good as today, and that significant efforts were made to this end in the previous period.

"Our destinies are tied together because of the historic past, Hungarians in Vojvodina and strategic projects in the interest of the development of both countries", Minister Szijjártó said. He stressed that the biggest Hungarian companies were present in Serbia, such as OTP and MOL, and that the interest of Hungarian businesses for Serbia has been constant, adding that Hungary supports its companies in investing in the Serbian market.

He said that 24 Hungarian companies will invest multiple billions of forints in Serbia in the months ahead. Furthermore, Szijjártó said that the development of Belgrade-Budapest railway line will contribute to this route being used for imports and transport of Chinese goods, thus enhancing the competitiveness of Serbia as well as Hungary in the region and the global market. When it comes to gas, Szijjártó said that Hungary started construction works on its part of the gas pipeline, to be connected to the pipeline coming from Serbia, adding that the gas provided via TurkStream will ensure better gas supply. In view of the expected new migrant wave, Szijjártó said that Hungary will send its police personnel to the border crossings in the south of Serbia, in order to decrease the influx of irregular migrants.

He commended Serbia's treatment of the Hungarian national minority, adding that it can serve as an example to entire Europe.

Minister Selakovic: Gratitude to Hungary for assistance in providing treatment to Anika

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic said today that Hungary will provide accommodation and medical assistance before and during the period the two-year-old girl Anika Manic is receiving her treatment.

At a joint press conference with his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó, Minister Selakovic thanked the Hungarian friends for assistance to this little girl who will soon begin to receive her treatment at a hospital in Budapest.

Selakovic said that helping Anika was the first issue he collaborated on with Minister Szijjártó, since assuming his duties as Serbian Foreign Minister. In the past several months Serbian citizens have united in a mission to collect the funding for the treatment of the two-year-old Anika Manic who suffers from a rare disease, so that she could receive necessary treatment in January.

Source: Tanjug

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