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Martonyi: Slovak-Hungarian ties have improved

Relations between Slovakia and Hungary have achieved a higher quality level, said Hungarian Foreign Minister János Martonyi after meeting his Slovak counterpart Miroslav Lajčák in Bratislava on Wednesday, March 13.

Relations between Slovakia and Hungary have achieved a higher quality level, said Hungarian Foreign Minister János Martonyi after meeting his Slovak counterpart Miroslav Lajčák in Bratislava on Wednesday, March 13.

"The most important thing is that we're talking in a new, open atmosphere," said Martonyi, after arriving in Bratislava for an official visit to Slovakia. He added that even though ties between the neighbouring countries have been marked by a number of heated debates, the relationship has acquired a new quality over the past few years in the form of honesty, mutual trust and empathy.

The Hungarian minister also noted that, unlike in the past, the countries don't tend to avoid less pleasant topics, such as the dual-citizenship legislation introduced by Hungary and the amendment to the state citizenship law approved by Slovakia in response. In this respect, Martonyi said that expert teams have been set up in order to deal with the problem. The teams are expected to meet on March 19. Lajčák further revealed, as quoted by the TASR newswire, that the talks brought an agreement to hold bilateral meetings between the prime ministers accompanied by a number of ministers in early June to debate road infrastructure, energy production and diplomatic links.

On the same day, Martonyi also met representatives of the extra-parliamentary Party of Hungarian Community (SMK) in Bratislava. The SMK last month launched a petition in favour of maintaining the current, decentralised education system. "Primary schools belong under municipalities, while secondary schools come under the regional governments (VÚCs). This must be maintained," said SMK chairman József Berényi, according to TASR. He added that if primary and secondary schools are moved under the remit of the state – as Education Minister Dusan Caplovic recently suggested – the need to set up independent entities representing ethnic minorities that would run ethnic-minority schools will arise. Martonyi said that in Hungary, ethnic-minority schools will belong to independent ethnic-minority entities even after the planned reorganisation of the education system. He added that he had already discussed the issue of school-system reform with Lajčák, and they had agreed to organise meetings of experts to clarify the extent of the planned changes.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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