President of Hungary Katalin Novák arrived in Rome on Wednesday for an official visit, where she met her Italian counterpart and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, among other important dignitaries. She also granted an extensive interview to Italian paper Corriere della Sera.
Mattarella: Ukraine Must Resolve Minority Rights Issues
The major subject of conversation between Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Hungarian President Katalin Novák on Tuesday in Rome was the Russo–Ukrainian War. ‘We agreed that by beginning the war, Putin had crossed the line. Our shared objective is for the war to end quickly and for there to be peace once and for all,’ Novák said after the meeting which she described as ‘epoch-marking’ in a post on Facebook.
The President said she had stressed in the meeting that the 150,000 Hungarians living in Transcarpathia are 150,000 reasons to start the peace process right away. According to Mattarella, it will be crucial to resolve the issue of minorities as quickly as possible if Ukraine truly desires to join the European Union. Additionally on the agenda were energy, bilateral ties, and the Western Balkans’ EU integration. The Italian President also reaffirmed his unwavering support for Christians who are being persecuted and said that his country plans to launch a program akin to Hungary Helps. Ignazio La Russa, president of the Italian Senate, and Lorenzo Fontana, president of the Chamber of Deputies, also held talks with Novák on Tuesday.
Novák: Giorgia Meloni Is a Longtime Friend
On Wednesday, the Hungarian President met with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. ’We need strong European leaders, open discussions behind closed doors, shared strategic thinking, and mutual respect in this time of war. A battle was waged in 2022. I hope 2023 will be a year of peace!’, Novák told Corriere della Sera after the meeting. ‘The true task facing Europe is to find unity while accepting that our history, our local conditions, our culture, and our ways of thinking are different in many respects, while also being the same in the essentials,’ the President said. ‘I consider the Judeo-Christian roots and Christian culture as the common ground. If we maintain our Christian culture and can continue to reach unanimity on decisions, the European Union can still be seen as a historical success story,’ she continued. ‘It goes without saying that we have been friendly with Giorgia Meloni for many years,’ she stated in response to a query on her opinion of the current Italian prime minister. ’She is a strong, family-oriented conservative woman who is open to the world but who would sacrifice her life for her country, according to what I know of her.’ Novák emphasised that Meloni is a ‘trustworthy and reliable person,’ adding that the interests and intentions of Hungarians and Italians point in the same direction also in fields like taking a firm stance against illegal immigration, the necessity of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans, the protection of Christians, and standing up for family values.