During her Paris trip, President Katalin Novák met with Nicolas Sarkozy, visited UNESCO, and gave a speech to college students. The President was in France at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron, to attend the International Peace Forum in Paris.
On Thursday, Novák made her first visit to ‘Hungary’s long-time friend,’ Nikolas Sarkozy. She stated on Facebook that she had ‘discussed with the former Head of State of France how much Europe and the world need Hungary acting as a bridge.’ In addition, Novák continued, ‘We Hungarians also understand the various nations and people, and we are able to mediate between them.’
Speech at the Institut de Philosophie Comparée
The president also spoke at the Institut de Philosophie Comparée about Hungarian family law. She insisted that ‘the family is at the core of our identity.’ With a population that has been continuously declining for decades, Hungary is confronting demographic issues, the president noted. The Hungarian government is therefore investing in families, with family support now accounting for 6.2 percent of Hungary’s GDP. Additionally, Novák discussed how the conflict in Ukraine ‘directly affects Hungary because there are approximately 150,000 Hungarians living in Transcarpathia and more than 200 Hungarians have lost their lives in the conflict.’ The president reminded that Hungary’s loss of two-thirds of its territory during the First World War resulted in a national tragedy for the country. She said, ‘We have learned our lesson, and peace is needed, especially in Ukraine.’ The politician discussed the idea of the modern woman, the environmental effects of childrearing, the common good, and if it is challenging to be a politician as a woman in response to questions from the audience of university students. During her visit, President Novák also met with Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO.
The Forum and Macron
In her remarks at the International Peace Forum, President Novák declared: ‘We must use all available means to remove every obstacle in the way of peace.’ The Hungarian head of state cautioned in her contribution that the longer the war lasts, the more difficult it will be to bring about peace, and that the escalating war results in a growing death toll and more devastation. She emphasized that there seems to be no sincere desire for a ceasefire and peace negotiations. The president said that while disinformation prevents the reaching of an agreement and results in significant harm, there is no substantial and firm intent to mediate between the sides. Katalin Novák warned that there is a risk of nuclear war in Europe and criticized the unfairness of the Russian threat to cut off supply of food and electricity.
During her visit to Paris the president also had bilateral meetings with her counterparts from Serbia, North Macedonia, and Georgia as well as the foreign minister of Switzerland and the chairman of the French Senate. She also attended a celebration for Polish Independence Day where she spoke with Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau.
After the conclusion of the International Peace Forum, Katalin Novák was received in the Élysée Palace by President Emmanuel Macron and his wife. The Hungarian president expressed her confidence in the ability of the international community to cooperate in removing the barriers standing in the way of peace in a Facebook post. The President paid a visit to the Père-Lachaise Cemetery’s memorial to the Rio de Janeiro–Paris Air France flight victims on Sunday, paying her respects to the five Hungarians who lost their lives in the tragic crash.