The Slovenia Times

Erjavec's Hungary Visit Focuses on Infrastructure, Minority


The minister also discussed the situation of the Slovenian minority.

As part of the visit, Erjavec, who was accompanied by a business delegation, met Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto and National Assembly Speaker Laszlo Köver.

The ministers also opened a business forum discussing bilateral cooperation in transport and logistics, with participation by companies and institutions from the sector in both countries.

The forum was followed by a bilateral meeting between Erjavec and Szijjarto, with the ministers mainly discussing economic cooperation between the countries. Infrastructure was in focus, the Slovenian FM told the STA.

Szijjarto was very interested in modernisation of Slovenian railways, with Erjavec noting that the section between Pragersko, near Maribor and the Hungarian border at Hodoš would be upgraded in line with the latest EU standards by the year's end.

The Hungarian counterpart also inquired about the upgrade of the Koper-Divača section. Erjavec said that the project had been prepared to draw from the EU funds, which however would not be enough for it to be fully funded.

The Hungarian side has offered to co-finance the project and Erjavec said he was willing to open a discussion on the initiative at the government level.

The Hungarian government is also interested in connecting the countries with a gas pipeline, as Slovenia is the most optimal route for Hungary to get and send gas to Italy.

The construction of a gas pipeline between Hungary and Italy belongs to major future EU energy projects, which according to Erjavec could be realised by 2020.

TV Slovenija and the Hungarian press agency MTI reported that the Hungarian Export-Import Bank (Eximbank) has opened a EUR 270m credit line for Slovenian-Hungarian projects. Hungary is also to open an economic representation office in Slovenia.

Erjavec and Szijjarto further discussed topical international issues, including immigration pressures, the situation in Libya, the rise of Islamic State, Syria, Iraq, the Middle East peace process and the Ukraine crisis.

Regarding the proposed quotas for distribution of refugees among the EU members, Erjavec said that Budapest "thinks like us in Slovenia - we support solidarity, but we are not happy about the quotas, because we think that they will not solve the problem of refugees in the long run."

The meeting with Speaker Laszlo Köver meanwhile focused on the situation of the Slovenian minority in Hungary and vice versa, with Köver praising Slovenia for taking a good care of the Hungarian minority.

There is also some progress on the other side, as the Slovenian minority has had its advocate in the Hungarian parliament since last year, which Köver assessed very positively, according to Erjavec.

Erjavec also met representatives of the Slovenian ethnic community in Hungary, which have established that a great progress was made in the sense of the support for projects in the interest of the minority by the Hungarian state.

The Slovenian FM will also attend a reception on Slovenian National Day hosted by the Slovenian embassy in Budapest today.


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