Katalin Novák: the Visegrad cooperation is an alliance of the heart and mind
President of Hungary Katalin Novák called the Visegrad Cooperation and alliance of hearts and minds at the press conference held with outgoing President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman in Prague on Friday.
As the press conference started, paying tribute on behalf of the Hungarians, Katalin Novák presented the outgoing Czech Head of State with the Grand Cross with the Necklace of the Hungarian Order of Merit. She explained that she wishes to convey the gratitude of the Hungarians to President Zeman, who is awarded the recognition for his efforts promoting Hungarian-Czech friendship, the Visegrad Cooperation and for his 33 year long political career.
Katalin Novák stressed: those who attack the Visegrad Cooperation attack an alliance of the heart and mind, and as President, she will endeavour to take effective action against such attacks. She stressed that she supports the Visegrad Cooperation and believes that commonly held economic, cultural and historical values are capable of forging a strong unity.
Katalin Novák gave an account of the three topics she discussed with Milos Zeman, including the Russian-Ukrainian war, Czech-Hungarian bilateral cooperation and the relations between the Visegrad countries.
The President highlighted that they both condemn Russian aggression, stand up for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and stand for urgent peace. She recalled the more than one million refugees fleeing the Russian-Ukrainian war and coming to Hungary, and that the war directly impacts 150 thousand Hungarians in Transcarpathia. She also spoke about the cause of the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia, the need to stand up for them in spite of the war, as the rights of Hungarians living in Ukraine – including the right to use their mother tongue – has been severely curtailed.
Talking about Czech-Hungarian economic relations, Katalin Novák said that in the fields of the economy, culture and tourism, the two countries strive to strengthen their relations further.
Concerning the Visegrad Cooperation, the President stressed that she believes that the shared economic, cultural and historical values will forge the V4 countries into a strong unity. As she explained, it is important to listen to the position of one’s partners, but she is convinced that all this will only make cooperation stronger.
Responding to a question from a journalist, she called NATO enlargement a key issue, and said that in the present situation, the accession of Sweden and Finland is justified. Answering a question about Czech pensions, she explained that Hungary is committed to keeping its pension system stable and in line with inflation, but that she does not wish to comment on the interior political decisions of other countries.
Katalin Novák, during her official visit, has an informal meeting with President elect Petr Pavel at Prague’s Hrzánsky Palace.