Fico and Orban Launch Construction of Cross-border Bridge over Danube

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Prime Minister Robert Fico (left) and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban launching the construction of a cross-border bridge over the Danube River in Komarom (photo by TASR)

Komarom, October 17 (TASR-correspondent) – Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban on Tuesday ceremonially launched the construction of a cross-border bridge between Slovakia and Hungary over the Danube River that is set to link the towns of Komarom on the Hungarian side and Komarno (Nitra region) in Slovakia.

[Komarno and Komarom used to form a single town on both banks of the Danube River in the Kingdom of Hungary. Following the First World War and the Treaty of Trianon, the border of the newly created Czechoslovakia cut the town in half – ed. note].

“It’s rarely seen in politics that when you shake hands, the deal is really valid. We meet politicians who shake hands but claim something else the following day,” said Fico in reference to the excellent state of Slovak-Hungarian bilateral relations. At the same time he thanked the Hungarian premier for keeping his promises vis-a-vis Slovakia.

Fico further expressed his wish to retain common sense in European politics, just as is the case for himself and the Hungarian premier. “We have the same views on migration, and we believe that the basic condition is to protect the external borders of the Schengen area and that it’s a gross violation of rules and promises … when internal controls are carried out on the EU’s internal borders,” said Fico.

Orban stated that Tuesday’s event is a good example of the fact that the Danube doesn’t separate Hungarians and Slovaks, but unites their two countries instead. “Let the new bridge be a symbol of defending Europe’s external borders and keeping internal borders open. Let this be proof that Slovaks and Hungarians, we, the citizens of Europe, believe in a Europe in which borders are passable,” said Orban.

There is currently only one road bridge connecting Komarno and Komarom. When the new 600-metre bridge across the Danube River is completed, heavy lorries will be able to cross it, meaning that they’ll no longer have to pass through the centres of the two towns. The construction work on the bridge, which is being co-funded by EU funds, is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.