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Hungarian-Croatian diplomatic friction

October 3rd, 2015

In a comment on the diplomatic dispute between Hungary and Croatia over border defence and migration, a conservative pundit calls for calm, as the two countries have common economic and geopolitical interests.

On Thursday, Index.hu reported that the fence on the Hungarian-Croatian frontier is soon to be completed, but the planned sealing of the border is creating tension between the two countries. According to Index.hu’s unnamed sources, the Croatian authorities are monitoring the building process in order to identify the weak points of the fence so that they can transport undocumented migrants to these spots where they have a higher chance of crossing into Hungary.

Earlier, Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic harshly criticized Hungary for erecting a fence on its southern border. Since Hungary closed its frontier with Serbia on 15 September, migrants have changed their routes and now try to reach the Schengen zone through Croatia (see BudaPost September 21). PM Milanovic has said that he will not stop or register migrants, but would rather help them to get to Hungary.

In his regular bi-weekly radio interview on Friday, Viktor Orbán said that Croatian Prime Minister Milanovics opinions do not reflect those of the Croatian people, but rather the mindset of left-wing European politicians who constantly criticize Hungary. Croatias conservative president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has announced that she intends to meet PM Orbán in order to ease the tension.

The diplomatic conflict between Hungary and Croatia harms both countries, György Csóti comments in Magyar Idők. The former MDF politician and former Hungarian ambassador to Zagreb is now chair of the Hungarian-Croatian Friendship Association. He underlines that just like over the past centuries, the two countries today have common economic and geopolitical interests and share basic values. In order to strengthen bilateral cooperation and overcome the current diplomatic deadlock over migration and the MOL oil company (see BudaPost), Csóti calls for the mutual introduction of an official Croatian-Hungarian friendship day. The long-term joint interests of Hungary and Croatia should not fall prey to disputes over migration and other issues, he warns.

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