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Komorowski takes part in Polish-Hungarian Friendship Day celebrations

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 22.03.2012 10:33
President Bronislaw Komorowski and First Lady Anna have begun a two-day visit to Hungary, marking five years since the declaration of the Day of Polish-Hungarian Friendship.

Komorowski and wife: photo - PAP/Jacek Turczyk

President Komorowski and his Hungarian counterpart Pal Schmitt are due to unveil a plaque in Budapest on Thursday.

On Friday, the official day of Polish-Hungarian Friendship, the festivities move to Szeged, Hungary's third largest city.

The presidents are due to plant oak trees as a mark of friendship between the two countries.

Wreaths will be laid at the Katyn Cross (in tribute to Polish officers executed in WWII on Stalin's orders) in the Votive Church in Szeged.

The anniversary comes amid increasing alienation for Hungary within the EU, yet the conservative government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been able to count on support from Poland and Lithuania.

On 13 March, Poland abstained in a vote by EU Ministers that called for the suspension of development funds to Hungary until the country brings its debt levels to below 3 percent of its GDP. The funds were frozen regardless of Poland's abstention.

The previous month, Hungarian MPs approved a decree thanking Poland and Lithuania for their support, amid criticisms from the EC regarding the alleged lack of independence of Hungary's Central Bank, data protection of Hungarian citizens, and the retirement age of judges and prosecutors.

On 18 January Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk spoke out saying that “some of the opinions expressed concerning the situation in Hungary are exaggerated and unfair.”

Komorowski's visit comes hot on the heels of a meeting in Warsaw on Wednesday with Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.

The two statesmen discussed Poland and Ukraine's forthcoming co-hosting of the Euro 2012 Football tournament, as well as Ukraine's prospective signing of an EU Association Agreement, a treaty by which non-EU members gain privileges in economic, political and cultural spheres.

The EU's negative reaction to the imprisonment of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko on 11 October resulted in Brussels calling off a meeting that month with Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, Tymoshenko's longstanding rival. Ukraine's prospective accession to the group of countries that has signed an Association Agreement has been in limbo since October. (nh/pg)

tags: hungary
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