8 June, 2023
Press release
The meeting between the teams of the Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjártó and his Bulgarian counterpart Nikolay Milkov in Sofia (source: The Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Bulgaria intensifies diplomatic relations with Hungary and Austria in January 2023. The Hungarian foreign minister visited Bulgaria two weeks after Bulgarian President Rumen Radev was invited and present at the New Year’s Eve concert in Vienna and a week before Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer’s visit to Sofia (23 January 2023).

This text is a press release from the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry. The text in italics and the subtitle belong to the Bridge of Friendship blog.

Hungarian Foreign and Trade Minister Peter Szijjártó’s working visit to Bulgaria began today with a meeting with Foreign Minister Nikolay Milkov. This is the first visit of a foreign minister to Bulgaria since the beginning of the year.  Mr Szijjártó will also be received by the Head of State, Rumen Radev, and will hold talks with Acting Energy Minister Rosen Hristov.

The talks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed Hungary’s strong support for Bulgaria’s important foreign policy priorities. They discussed the possibilities of deepening the excellent partnership in various areas of mutual interest, the cooperation between Bulgaria and Hungary in the EU and NATO, the accession of our country to the Schengen area and the OECD, the mitigation of the consequences of the ongoing Russian military aggression against Ukraine.

Particular attention was paid to the pressure of migrants, especially through the Western Balkans, and Minister Szijjártó underlined Budapest’s gratitude for Bulgaria’s active engagement and the safe and fair cooperation our country offers.

The consequences of the war in Ukraine are unfavourable for both Hungary and Bulgaria, said Nikolay Milkov and Peter Szijjártó.  The topic was discussed with a focus on the challenge of energy supply in Europe. Minister Szijjártó identified Bulgaria as one of the most important gas transit countries for Hungary. The Hungarian guest expressed his gratitude for Bulgaria’s assistance in supplying nuclear heating elements for Hungarian nuclear power plants.

The upward development of trade and economic relations between Bulgaria and Hungary was also a topic of discussion, with trade exceeding two billion euros in 2021 and data indicating that we will see further growth in 2022. Minister Milkov also expressed his satisfaction with the strong presence of Hungarian investments in our country.

Minister Peter Szijjártó reaffirmed Hungary’s strong support for our country’s accession to Schengen and described the decision to block Bulgaria again as unacceptable. “We will continue to insist that double standards are not applied and we will not allow subjective criteria to replace objective ones”, the Hungarian minister added, stressing that Bulgaria objectively fulfils the Schengen accession criteria.

Minister Nikolay Milkov indicated that 1 October this year could be a realistic date for Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen, saying that the date had not been agreed with partners, but takes into account the current realities.

Photo: The Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjártó and his Bulgarian counterpart Nikolay Milkov in Sofia (source: The Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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