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Tuesday, January 18, 2005
The first such meeting will be held in the autumn to discuss long-term development projects, Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany and his Romanian counterpart Calin Tariceanu a joint news conference.
Tariceanu, who formed his coalition cabinet late last month, was in Budapest on his first foreign visit since taking office, and the two prime ministers said the gesture underlined Romania's pledge to prepare for accession in 2007.
Gyurcsany, whose country joined the EU in May, said integration must replace the historic problems in their bilateral relations which have been put to the test over Romania's nearly 2 million strong ethnic Hungarian minority.
Much of the friction and suspicion between Hungary and its neighbour was caused by the break up of Hungary following World War One, in which the country lost much of its land.
A failed referendum in Hungary in December to give citizenship to ethnic Hungarians abroad also strained ties.
Despite those tensions, Romania's UDMR party of ethnic Hungarians has become part of Romania's new government coalition, which Tariceanu said was a stabilising factor.
Gyurcsany said his Socialist cabinet felt responsibility for ethnic kin abroad but it only supported those UDMR calls for cultural autonomy which were also backed by Romania's government.
However, the right-wing Hungarian opposition -- which has a narrow lead in opinion polls ahead of elections in 2006 -- has called for more radical measures to help ethnic Hungarians abroad, he added.
Nevertheless, Hungary will not foster calls for an autonomous region by Hungarians within Romania, he added.
Tariceanu meanwhile promised to consult Hungary and abide by the EU's environmental rules over a plan by Canada's Gabriel Resources to set up Europe's biggest open-cast gold mine, which Hungary fears could contaminate its rivers.
Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 1/18/2005 09:34:00 am
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