On 27 and 28 October, Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth visited Budapest, where he thanked the Hungarian people for their support 25 years ago that led to the reunification of Germany and Europe.
Minister of State Roth held talks in the Hungarian capital with Dr László Szabó, Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Dr Gergely Gulyás, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly. The focus of the talks was on Hungary’s support for German reunification and the process of European integration. Roth said:
"Democracy, freedom and fundamental rights – the values that the people in Central Europe stood up for in the past – have lost none of their meaning. On the contrary! These ideals form our common foundation because the EU is not primarily a single market, but rather a union of shared values."
Speaking openly with one another in Europe
At the same time, the Minister of State for Europe expressed his concern about certain developments in Hungary. He said that a key aim of his visit was to speak openly and to engage in dialogue rather than speaking at cross purposes.
"Hungary belongs to the heart of the European Union. It is vital that we prevent the country from becoming politically or economically isolated. Our aim is to work with Hungary on advocating an initiative of fundamental values at the European level – an initiative that is measured by objective criteria and does not create double standards. Regardless of whether a country is large or small or is located in the East or West, we have a common duty to uphold our fundamental values. We all share equal responsibility."
During his visit, Minister of State Roth also met representatives of the opposition, political foundations, civil society and the Jewish community, and spoke with creative professionals, bloggers and activists.
He concluded his visit by giving a lecture on strengthening democracy in Europe at the School of Public Policy at Central European University.