On January 22, 2016, Minister for Slovenians Abroad Gorazd Žmavc attended the third joint meeting of the governments of Slovenia and Hungary. Prior to the joint meeting, Minister Žmavc and his Hungarian counterpart Zsolt Semjén led a working group on minority issues and cross-border cooperation.
Both delegations welcomed the implementation of the 15thsession of the Slovenian-Hungarian Commission for Monitoring the Agreement on the provision of special rights of the Hungarian minority in Slovenia and the Slovenian minority in Hungary. Both parties expressed their trust in appropriate implementation of the agreed recommendations.
Participants agreed that the annual implementation of the joint Commission is essential for ensuring the highest level of protection of minority rights, for their development as well as for good relations between two friendly neighboring states.
Also discussed was the continuation of the Interreg V-A Slovenia-Hungary program, as it contributes valuable experiences in the field of territorial cooperation between partners from both countries. The aim of the cooperation program is for the region to become attractive for living and investment. The region is rich in natural and cultural heritage, both of which must be preserved and used for sustainable tourism development. Cooperation between public authorities, NGOs and other interested public institutions add value to the development of the border area, as common problems can only be solved together and thus contribute to increased mutual respect, tolerance and understanding, thereby contributing to European integration.
Both sides highlighted the important roles of the minorities, who are indispensable partners in searching for new development opportunities beyond the borders, and in finding new development solutions throughout the border area. Their good understanding of the socio-economic situation on both sides of the border together with their language skills are a good basis for deepening the connectivity, which can have a positive impact on the quality of life on both sides of the border.
At the plenary session of the two governments, Minister Žmavc presented the conclusions of the working group and pointed out that minorities do not represent a problem, but are a part of the solution for regional development.