NEWS IN SHORT

Slovak and Hungarian PMs to meet

THE PRIME ministers of Slovakia and Hungary, Robert Fico and Ferenc Gyurcsány, will hold an informal meeting in September. Slovak Deputy Prime Minister Dušan Čaplovič announced the planned meeting on August 23 after meeting his counterpart, Péter Kiss, who is also head of the Hungarian Prime Minister's Office, in Tvrdošovce, Nové Zámky District, the SITA newswire wrote.

THE PRIME ministers of Slovakia and Hungary, Robert Fico and Ferenc Gyurcsány, will hold an informal meeting in September. Slovak Deputy Prime Minister Dušan Čaplovič announced the planned meeting on August 23 after meeting his counterpart, Péter Kiss, who is also head of the Hungarian Prime Minister's Office, in Tvrdošovce, Nové Zámky District, the SITA newswire wrote.

Čaplovič gave no details of the date, time or place of the unofficial gathering, at which the two prime ministers would announce the terms of their next official meeting.

"It is up to the spokespersons of both cabinets; they will certainly announce the date [of the unofficial meeting] in time," he said.

At the meeting the prime ministers are expected to evaluate a fourteen-point cooperation programme between Slovakia and Hungary entitled "Common History, Common Future".

On August 23, Čaplovič and Kiss discussed the last two points of the programme - bridges between the two countries and a dual carriageway to connect the Slovak city of Košice and Miskolc in Hungary. These points should be definitively resolved on September 9, at a meeting of both countries’ transport ministers.

Originally, Prime Ministers Gyurcsány and Fico had been scheduled to meet in mid June. But the Hungarian side cancelled the long-planned meeting in May after Ján Slota, the leader of a junior coalition party, the Slovak National Party (SNS), made disparaging comments about St Stephen, an important historical figure for Hungarians. "Hungarian flags on the front, and here is some Hungarian clown on a horse in Budapest," Slota said at a press conference on May 9, describing the cover of a history textbook, featuring a picture of St Stephen, which is used by the Hungarian community in Slovakia. Kinga Göncz, Hungary's foreign affairs minister, later compared the SNS to the extremist Hungarian Guard; Slota responded by saying of Ms Göncz: "This lady with the dishevelled hair: she could take more care of her appearance."


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