Senior members of the governments of Hungary and Serbia held a joint cabinet meeting on Monday in Subotica, Vojvodina, the autonomous province in the north of Serbia with a large ethnic Hungarian population, state news wire MTI reported.
After the meeting, at a joint press conference with his Serbian counterpart Ana Brnabić, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán reiterated that Hungary backs the soonest possible accession to the European Union for Serbia, adding that the countryʼs membership in the EU would benefit all member states.
Brnabić acknowledged Hungaryʼs support in the area of European integration, its economic cooperation, and its support for ethnic Serbs in Hungary. She said 11 political, economic and social agreements were signed on Monday, evidence of the governmentsʼ moves to address specific problems and produce concrete results.
Orbán invited Brnabić to Hungary for the next joint cabinet meeting of their governments.
Ahead of the joint cabinet meeting, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó met with his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dačić and Serbian Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović. He said Hungary would do everything in its power to contribute to strengthening Serbiaʼs economy and accelerating the countryʼs integration with Europe.
"We will not accept that there can be no enlargement until 2025, nor will we accept that the European Commission is artificially slowing the process of Serbiaʼs integration," he asserted.
Szijjártó noted that Magyar Eximbank has approved a EUR 110 million credit line to support partnerships between Hungarian and Serbian businesses. Additionally, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has set up a HUF 1.6 billion fund for partnerships that involve infrastructure investments in Serbia, he added.
Szijjártó recalled that Hungarian government subsidies for businesses in the Vojvodina region have gone to 10,400 applicants so far, supporting investments worth a total of HUF 65 bln. This year, Hungaryʼs government has allocated HUF 7.5 bln in program financing for Vojvodina, he added.