NEWS IN SHORT

Slovak and Hungarian ministers meet

POLITICAL tension between Hungary and Slovakia de-creased after the prime ministers of both countries met in September and now relations have improved to the level of pragmatic cooperation between partners, said the ministers of foreign affairs of both countries, Péter Balázs of Hungary and Miroslav Lajčák of Slovakia, after they met in Banská Bystrica on November 3, the SITA newswire reported.

POLITICAL tension between Hungary and Slovakia de-creased after the prime ministers of both countries met in September and now relations have improved to the level of pragmatic cooperation between partners, said the ministers of foreign affairs of both countries, Péter Balázs of Hungary and Miroslav Lajčák of Slovakia, after they met in Banská Bystrica on November 3, the SITA newswire reported.

The ministers met to evaluate fulfilment of the plan which the prime ministers had agreed upon in September.

“Questions still exist where differences of opinion persist,” Lajčák said. “What has improved is that we discuss everything in a constructive, friendly atmosphere with an effort to find a common solution.”

According to Lajčák, an example of this is the differing opinion on the Hungarian parliament’s Forum of Deputies of the Carpathian Basin, which in Slovakia’s view is not in line with good neighbourly relations.

Balázs pointed out that twelve joint intergovernmental commissions are working at the governmental level and said that Hungary suggests establishing two new institutions – a fund and a council for cooperation. One of the joint commissions is dealing with Slovakia’s State Language Act.

“We appreciate that the Slovak side has shown a willingness to consult [on the guidelines for the law] in advance with the Hungarian side,” Balázs said, as quoted by SITA. “We agreed that the executive guidelines will have the form of a government directive.”

Experts from both ministries of foreign affairs also discussed rules of protocol for official and unofficial visits by state representatives in order to avoid a repetition of the incident from August 21 in which a 'private visit' by the Hungarian president to Slovakia was blocked.

According to Lajčák, they quickly agreed on the protocol for visits of constitutional officials because it was not necessary to develop any new rules.

"We rather repeated the existing ones so that misunderstandings would not be repeated," Lajčák said, as quoted by SITA.

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