Wednesday, November 15, 2006

MTI: MPs discuss preparations for Hungarian-Romanian gov't session

MPs discuss preparations for Hungarian-Romanian gov't session (adds details)
Budapest, November 14 (MTI)

- The governments of Hungary and Romania will focus on coordinating economic development plans -- particularly in regions near their common border -- at their upcoming joint session. The two countries could earmark 733 million euros for the purpose, a gov't official told Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

The two governments are scheduled to hold their second session of its kind in Budapest on November 16-17. "The Hungarian government strives for Romania's ethnic Hungarian minority to become a winner of EU entry early next year," State Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office Ferenc Gemesi said.

The issues of autonomy and returning property to churches will also be raised, but it should also be kept in view to what extent they serve the interests of the Hungarian minority at the given moment, he said.

The two governments will discuss cross-border regional development, agricultural cooperation, reconstruction of border-crossing points, joint road construction projects, cooperation in stockpiling crude oil, the controversial gold mine project at Rosia Montana, use of EU funds for environmental purposes in the Tisza and Danube valleys, and restoration of monuments, including the Cluj statue of King Matthias (r. 1458-1490).

Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Zsolt Nemeth (opposition Fidesz) said there was little sense in holding such meetings when Romania reneges on its deals with Hungary.

Nemeth added that the Hungarian government should raise the issue of territorial autonomy for Szekler Land (central Romania), the approval of Romania's minorities law, the return of property and payment of compensation to churches, the autonomous Hungarian university of Transylvania and the flow of manpower. Gemesi said the government would decide by mid-December if it will open Hungary's labour market for Romanian and Bulgarian workers.


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