Budapest – Croatian Parliament Speaker Boris Šprem, who is undertaking an official visit to Hungary, met on Monday in Budapest with the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. They discussed the two countries’ bilateral relations and the cooperation of Central European countries in the context of Croatia’s accession to the European Union.
Croatia supports the strengthening of cooperation among the countries of Central Europe, and will particularly support it once it becomes a fully-fledged member of the EU, stated Mr Šprem for Croatia's National News Agency Hina. All his Hungarian interlocutors accentuated the need to strengthen this cooperation. Prime Minister Orban expressed keen interest in the relations between Croatia and Hungary, especially in the field of economy. Mr Šprem informed him of the projects being planned for, including those relating to strategic partnership between the two countries in the field of energy industry, oil and gas pipelines. They also examined cultural cooperation and national minorities’ issues. “Croatian minority in Hungary and Hungarian minority in Croatia are effectively protected. Their position is favourable, but there is room for improvement”, said the Speaker.
Mr Šprem discussed the position of national minorities at the meetings held with the Foreign Affairs Minister Janos Martonyi and the Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly Laszlo Köver as well. They informed him Hungary was preparing an electoral law that would guarantee access to parliamentary seats to national minorities.
According to official data, there are 30,000 Croats living in Hungary. The Speaker seized the opportunity to meet their representatives and he also attended the reception organized in the Croatian Embassy in Budapest to celebrate the Croatian Statehood Day and to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Croatia and Hungary. “The history of our two countries’ relations goes far beyond these 20 years”, said Mr Šprem. “These ties have been built for centuries and we need to strengthen them even more now that Croatia is about to enter the European Union. Croatia’s NATO membership and its impending EU membership, are greatly due to Hungary, its help and support”, stated the Speaker. (Hina/Internet Editorial Staff)