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President Katalin Novák Pledges Support to North Macedonia

Hungary attaches great importance to good relations with North Macedonia, as the integration of the Western Balkans is in the interest of the whole of Europe, said President Katalin Novák, who held talks with her North Macedonian counterpart, Stevo Pendarovski, in Skopje on Monday.

Among the topics of the meeting, Katalin Novák highlighted the issue of the war in Ukraine. The two presidents share a common position: they condemn Russian aggression and stand by the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. She added that it is a common interest to achieve a ceasefire in Ukraine as soon as possible and to start peace talks.

The Hungarian president also recalled that Hungary is doing more than its share in the humanitarian field: more than one million refugees have arrived in the country from Ukraine since the beginning of the war.

Novák said that the EU integration of North Macedonia is an important issue, as the stability of the Western Balkans region is key to Europe’s security and to the fight against illegal migration. It is unfair to make North Macedonia wait too long for EU membership, she warned, adding that this could also dampen the enthusiasm of the North Macedonian population for accession.

Last year, twice as many illegal migrants arrived via the Western Balkans route as in 2021. Novák and Pendarovski agreed that the problems leading to migration must be tackled in the countries of origin and that illegal migration must be stopped at Europe’s external borders. The Hungarian president stressed that Hungary is also providing assistance in this area, with 30 Hungarian police officers on duty at the North Macedonian-Greek border.

Featured photo via MTI/Bruzák Noémi

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