Hungarian-Serbian Strategic Cooperation Council Formed

Int’l Relations

Hungarian President Katalin Novák

Photo by MTI/Noémi Bruzák

The Hungarian-Serbian Strategic Cooperation Council held its inaugural meeting in Palic, in the north of Serbia, on Tuesday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

President Katalin Novák said bilateral relations between the countries had "reached a new level". Twelve agreements were signed at the meeting, she added.

Talks on Tuesday touched on the war in Ukraine, stability in the Western Balkans, the matter of Serbia's European Union accession, and demographic issues, she said.

Serbia has "demonstrated repeatedly that it belongs to Europe" since applying for EU membership in 2009 and starting accession talks in 2014, she said. Until Serbia joins the EU's passport-free Schengen zone, Hungary would like to make it easier to cross the border between the two countries, she added.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said bilateral ties between Hungary and Serbia had started to develop when both countries "came to the realization they cannot be hostage to history". Serbians have freedom, sovereignty, and independence "in their DNA, just like the Hungarians do", he added.

Orbán acknowledged differences of geography and religion between the two countries, as well as Hungary's membership in the EU and NATO, but said those differences "don't make cooperation difficult, rather they give it value".

"If these two different countries join together in a strategic cooperation, that releases enormous energy from which Serbs and Hungarians can only benefit," he added. 

The agreements signed at the meeting included ones on border protection, border crossing checks, European integration, exchange of classified information, infrastructure, farming, defense, and customs cooperation.

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