Hungarian–Romanian committee opens new chapter in cross-border collaboration

The relaunch of the Hungarian-Romanian committee dealing with minority-related issues opens up a new chapter in the Hungarian–Romanian relationship, according to the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó. There is a glimmer of hope for restarting the joint relationship and development of both countries, Szijjártó’s Romanian counterpart, Bogdan Aurescu, said at a press conference following their meeting at Almássy Castle in Gyula, Hungary.

Aurescu expressed his joy to the press after seeing the fresh signatures of State Secretary for European Affairs Iulia Matei and Ministerial Commissioner for Hungary’s Neighborhood Policy Ferenc Kalmár on the 2011 protocol of the committee he once co-led.

The Hungarian-Romanian committee last met 10 years ago in 2011, but

this new agreement, which also covers contentious issues, paves the way toward solving problems thought to be insurmountable,

Szijjártó pointed out at the press conference, Hungarian news portal Krónika Online reports. He urged the committee to begin discussions on urgent matters such as the fate of the Marosvásárhely-based II. Rákóczi Ferenc Roman Catholic Theological High School.

Hungarian and Romanian governments facilitate border-crossings

Szijjártó and Aurescu have signed a convention that modifies the 2004 and 2014 agreements signed in Bucharest that speed up the border-crossing process between Romania and Hungary. The new convention adds two more border-crossing points, so starting this fall, citizens of the two countries can cross the border at 14 locations, instead of 12. In 2024, the two countries will also be connected by a third highway that passes through Szatmárnémeti/Satu Mate, crosses the border at Csenger, and continues toward Mátészalka. Another important infrastructure development is the railway modernization that will allow trains to use two railway lines between Budapest, Bucharest and Constanța.

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of good neighborhood and international collaboration.

Szijjártó reminded his counterpart that the Hungarian government’s

funding of the Romanian community living within the country’s borders

has registered a fivefold increase

in recent years.

The former vice president of the committee, Bogdan Aurescu, expressed his strong belief in the structure of the committee and emphasized the importance of establishing a Hungarian–Romanian Chamber of Commerce as early as this fall, highlighting that trade between the two countries was EUR 9 million in 2020 alone. Aurescu also said that there is plenty of work to be done in terms of investment, as Hungary has invested much more in Romania than Romania has in Hungary.

Title image: Péter Szijjártó (left) and Bogdan Aurescu (right) at the Almássy Castle in Gyula, Hungary. Image credit: MTI/Tibor Rosta

Author: István Fekete