Hungarian President meets Austrian counterpart

Vienna, September 7 (MTI) – Hungarian President Pal Schmitt on Tuesday made his first official trip abroad, an introductory visit to the Austrian President Heinz Fischer.

Schmitt briefed his counterpart about Hungary’s foreign policy endeavours, targets of the upcoming Hungarian presidency of the European Union, the new Hungarian government’s policies, and he also touched on the contentious issue of a waste incinerator planned to be built near the border in Heiligenkreuz.

    Schmitt highlighted regional cooperation among Hungary’s foreign policy endeavours and said Austria and the Visegrad Four countries are crucial and equal partners in this respect.  

    The Hungarian president said the waste incinerator planned to be built in Heiligenkreuz “will be too close to the Hungarian border to leave it unmentioned and this will violate too many interests”.

    But he also noted the improvement concerning another cross-border environmental issue, the foaming of the River Raba.

    Fischer said he appreciated the Hungarian president’s openness and added that “good friends can discuss any issue.” He said Austria would cooperation with Hungary in every area and supports Hungary’s targets of the EU presidency. Fischer said an appeal has already been submitted to the public administration court in Austria in connection with the waste incinerator, and after the court makes its decision, the project “will most likely shift to new and better principles”.

    Schmitt said Slovakia was the only country that objected to a Hungarian legal amendment that simplified granting citizenship to ethnic Hungarians living beyond the borders. He said the law stripping Slovaks of their citizenship if they apply for Hungarian citizenship ran contrary to international practice. Schmitt said he hoped that Slovak-Hungarian relationships would improve in the near future and added that he planned to officially visit the country.

    In the evening Schmitt met representatives of Hungarian organisations operating in Austria.

    ”I was glad to see their efforts to keep the flame alive and fostering the Hungarian language, culture and traditions,” the president said.

    During his visit to Vienna, Schmitt also met Speaker of Parliament Barbara Prammer and visited the Austrian State Treasury.