Hungary wants to build ‘pragmatic’ relationship with Romania, put ‘tensions’ behind

Hungarian President Katalin Novák says that her country and Romania are focusing on building  “a good, pragmatic bilateral relationship” despite tensions over the large ethnic Hungarian minority.

She acknowledged bumps between the neighbors on Wednesday, but said that she and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis had „agreed that we want to reduce the existing tensions, not to amplify them. We will not agree in everything, but the most important thing is to listen to each other and understand each other’s point of view, in order to reduce these tensions.”

Ms Novak herself contributed to the tensions after she visited the ethnic Hungarian community and Hungarian politicians in the Romanian government in May, snubbing Romanian authorities.

A month later, she attended the  Bucharest Nine summit, the first official visit by a Hungarian president in 12 years. On Wednesday, she said invited Mr Iohannis to visit Budapest.

During their talks Wednesday, the two East European leaders discussed the war in Ukraine and the refugees who have fled since Russia invaded on Feb. 24.

They also talked about reducing energy dependence on Russia.

Romania and Hungary have strikingly different approaches to Moscow. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has cultivated a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while Romania supports sanctions, has strongly criticized the Ukraine invasion and has strained relations with Russia.

Ms Novak noted that Hungary was not a large country and wanted to reduce energy dependence on Russia.Romania is one of the EU’s least energy dependent countries.

“ We support any initiative that increases the potential for finding resources and reducing dependence on Russian (energy),” she said.

“ It is in our common interest to reach an agreement between the EU and Hungary on Hungary’s energy resources which should also extend to Poland,” she said.

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