During her state visit to Hungary the President of the Confederation, Micheline Calmy-Rey was received by the Hungarian head of state Pal Schmitt and by Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi, with whom she held extensive talks. Hungary has held the EU presidency since the beginning of this year. Relations between Switzerland and the European Union were the main focus of the talks, but bilateral and current international issues were also discussed.
In Budapest Micheline Calmy-Rey explained the central aspects of Swiss European policy and stressed that for the Federal Council at the moment a holistic and coordinated approach in all current bilateral dossiers with the EU seems to be the most likely to achieve success. She added that she would be discussing the conditions for such a negotiating approach with EU representatives in Brussels next week.
In addition to excellent bilateral relations, there have also been intensive human contacts between Switzerland and Hungary for many years. After the suppression of the revolution in Hungary in 1956, Switzerland became the home of many Hungarian refugees. During her state visit Micheline Calmy-Rey laid a wreath at the Monument of Hungarian Heroes.
Hungary is one of the EU states which Switzerland is supporting in its efforts to overcome economic and social disparities in the enlarged EU. Micheline Calmy-Rey and her interlocutors agreed that this is an important contribution to Hungary's economic and social development. For example, a project agreement signed shortly before the state visit aims to improve flood protection along the river Tisza (Theiss). This will benefit more than 180,000 living in the area. A partnership fund totaling CHF 3 million was launched recently to strengthen cooperation between the two countries. The fund supports Swiss Hungarian partnership projects between communes, towns, public institutions and non-governmental organizations.
Lars Knuchel, head of FDFA Information, +41 79 277 55 60
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