Hungarian, Slovak PMs inaugurate bridge over Danube

Government

Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Slovak counterpart Igor Matovic on Thursday inaugurated a bridge between their two countries spanning the Danube, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Viktor Orbán (left) with Igor Matovic. (Photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI)

The bridge runs between the edge of the Hungarian city of Komárom and the outskirts of Komarno, in Slovakia.

In a speech at the ceremony, Orbán said the inauguration shows the Danube does not divide but connects the Hungarian and Slovak nations.

He noted that the bridge is jointly owned by the states of Hungary and Slovakia and applauded the close economic cooperation between the two countries. Slovakia is Hungaryʼs third most important trade partner, while 840 Slovak-owned companies operating in Hungary provide workplaces for more than 4,000 people, he said.

Orbán acknowledged the support of European Union funding for the construction of the bridge, saying that the EUʼs competitiveness depends on its network of roads and railways.

Looking forward, he mentioned two big projects in the planning stages: a motorway running from Poland through Slovakia and Hungary towards Greece; and a high-speed rail line connecting the capitals of the Visegrád Group, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia.

Matovic conceded that it was "a little strange" to inaugurate a bridge when the borders are closed but said that is exactly what accords importance to the ceremony.

"Regardless of what measures are taken because of the pandemic, we can still show that we can build bridges connecting our nations today, too, and will do so in future as well," he said.

The governments of Hungary and Slovakia signed a memorandum of understanding on the bridge in 2012 and construction started in October 2017.

The 600 m-long, 7,000-tonne steel bridge is suitable for heavy vehicles.

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