Romania and Hungary govts to discuss joint projects on European funds

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Hungarian Foreign Minister Kinga Goncz, currently on a visit to Bucharest to make preparations ahead of the joint sitting of the governments of Hungary and Romania due in October, said after meeting Romanian counterpart Lazar Comanescu on Tuesday that the two sides should step up their cooperation in order to use the European Union funds for cross-border cooperation projects.
 
"Accessing the EU funds will only be possible if the two governments work together efficiently and if there is a firm commitment on both sides. I have noticed that several concrete steps have been made in this respect, but we need to accelerate such moves", Goncz told a joint news conference in which the two ministers answered the reporters' questions about the causes for the delays in the schedule.
 
Comanescu stressed that progress in "a range of areas" has already been made since the first joint sitting of the two governments held in 2005.
"At the same time, we have reached the conclusion that areas such as the infrastructure development, the cooperation on environment, energy, climate changes, the Romanian-Hungarian cooperation in the EU on such fields as the agricultural policy, energy policy, environmental policy are areas on which we should keep on focusing ahead of the future sitting as well as after that", the Romanian foreign minister said.
 
The two officials pointed out that Romania and Hungary have "almost identical positions" on issues related to the international agenda, the EU Neighbourhood Policy, the energy issues, the Black Sea security issues and the European perspective on the Western Balkan countries.
Both Goncz and Comanescu highlighted the positive contribution made by the Hungarian minority living in Romania and the Romanian minority in Hungary, who they said are "bridges and players" for the development of bilateral relations.
 
"We see the special role played by the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR, a junior ruling coalition partner) in all this activity, also being a governmental factor. The UDMR is important not only in terms of bilateral relations, as it is also an important representative of the Hungarian community living here, but at the same time it is important from the viewpoint of the cooperation with the EU", the Hungarian foreign minister stressed.
 
Comanescu reiterated Romania's goal to join the Schengen area in early 2011, at a time when Hungary will hold the EU half-yearly presidency.
Goncz is also scheduled to meet Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu on Tuesday.
The Bucharest and Budapest governments will hold their fourth joint sitting in Hungary this year. The annual inter-governmental sittings offer an efficient framework for the examination and debate of the projects of common interest of the two countries.

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