President Amherd meets the president and prime minister of Hungary prior to it assuming EU Council presidency

Press releases, 19.04.2024

On Friday, 19 April, President Viola Amherd met President Tamás Sulyok, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Parliamentary Speaker László Kövér in Budapest to discuss bilateral relations, the European policy of both countries and the European security situation. Hungary will assume the EU Council presidency in the second half of the year.

The two sides set out their countries' European policy priorities for the coming months. For Switzerland, these include the ongoing negotiations with the European Union to stabilise and further develop close relations for the benefit of both parties. This requires the trust and support of EU member states as well, explained President Amherd. She emphasised that it was particularly important at a time of major challenges for Europe to find solutions that worked for both sides. In addition to its six-month presidency of the EU Council, Hungary will also be hosting a summit of the European Political Community in November. Switzerland actively supports this format, which aims to promote political dialogue and cooperation on the European continent.

A key topic of discussion on Friday was the security situation, in particular Russia's war against Ukraine. Both sides exchanged views on the current situation and discussed the starting point for the summit on peace in Ukraine set to take place in mid-June on the Bürgenstock. President Amherd outlined the next stages, stated the goal of developing practical elements and steps towards a peace process, and reiterated her request to Hungary and all invited states to actively participate.

Bilateral cooperation as part of Switzerland's second contribution to selected EU member states, including Hungary, was also discussed. Both sides acknowledged the good exchanges and the potential to enhance networking in the areas of vocational education and training and research and innovation, for example. It is important for Switzerland to involve various stakeholders in implementing the programmes and projects, particularly from civil society.

With regard to economic relations, talks touched on the importance of reliable and predictable framework conditions for further investment decisions, before turning to multilateral issues, including the involvement of both countries in the UN, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe, as well as the situation in the Middle East.

Speech on challenges facing Switzerland and Europe

In a speech at Andrássy University on Thursday evening, President Viola Amherd addressed students, members of the international community and Swiss citizens living in Hungary about the current challenges facing Switzerland and Europe. Against the backdrop of Russia's war against Ukraine and authoritarian tendencies in many parts of the world, she emphasised the common task of European states to protect democracy and individual freedoms and to work towards peaceful development.

Further information:

Speech by President Viola Amherd at Andrássy University in Budapest
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Hungary

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