“New Europe Should Provide
A Chance To Everyone”
Mr. Sandor Robel, Ambassador of Hungary to Moldova, kindly agreed to answer several questions put to him by Welcome magazine
Welcome: Hungary is regarded as a country whose nation practically reinvented itself after decades of continuous social change and political instability. In what ways can this be a true statement? What mental stages did the people have to go through during that time?
Answer: I wouldn’t say Hungary has gone through long periods of instability. Hungary is a small country that has no means to influence her environment on a large scale. Our people had to learn the ways to accommodate itself and create conditions to further develop the economy and social standards. We have always tried to widen our horizon and to use good opportunities as soon as they had emerged. In a period instead of instability there was too much stability and we, like many other countries of this part of the world, had no chance but accept a reality that was not chosen by us.
How has a particular psychological approach helped Hungary develop economically? Do you agree that a change in the mentality of Moldovans could fuel comparable processes?
I am sure that mentality is very important. Often, when you are in hardship you might lose hope and self-confidence. I think this is not right. Both our peoples are able and talented; they are capable of overcoming difficulties. Moldovans have a long history and they have been successful in many situations and they will succeed this time, too. Yes, Moldovans do need courage and self-confidence and I don’t see any obstacles to making the country once more a prosperous part of Europe.
Today Hungary has become one of the most prosperous countries in Eastern Europe. Is becoming a member of the European Union the next step in its economic progress and participating in the processes of building up a new Europe?
Hungary has been successful in the recent one and a half decades. However, you should never be fully satisfied. There are plenty of things to improve and further develop. There are people who need support of the society, health service needs urgent reforms, unemployment should be reduced, education should be modernized in accordance with the social and economic requirements and so on and so forth. New Europe should provide a chance to everyone.
Over the years the relationships between different European countries underwent great change. What would be the course Hungary is on now in its counteraction with other European countries including Moldova from a political and economic point of view?
The modern Hungary has always maintained good relations with its European partners. We have been part of a European culture and now we are going to be part of a strong European political and economic community, the European Union. It is all based on our shared, common values that will guide us in our relations with our partners. Our ties with the Republic of Moldova have been based on the friendship of our peoples and on our common objective to live in a peaceful, prosperous and happy Europe. I am sure, Hungary’s accession to the EU will not be an obstacle in our relations. On the contrary, it will open new opportunities in our cooperation. Hungary might help the members of the Union to understand better our region and assist the Republic of Moldova to intensify its activity in the European organizations. My country is interested in a united, stable, democratic and prosperous Republic of Moldova that shares our common values.
What are, in your opinion, the main directions of cooperation between Hungary and Moldova? What are the prospects of further development? What is being done to step it up and intensify its activity?
I am sure our future relations will contribute to the wellbeing of both of our countries, as well. In February, when President Voronin visited Hungary, we held intensive talks to define the main directions of our cooperation. Special attention was given to economic ties. A special operative working group would be set up to help our commerce and investments. It is important to provide the companies of both countries with correct and useful information.
For the last two years considerable investments in Moldova have been made by the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and Italy. At the same time Central and Eastern European states including Hungary show an interest in investing in Moldova. What is the level of investment cooperation between our countries?
I have no exact figures on the value of the Hungarian investments in Moldova. I esteem them between one and two million of US dollars. We cannot be satisfied with this. Hungarian companies have invested abroad more than three thousand million US dollars and this amount doubles every three years. I am sure that the Republic of Moldova should be given more attention and thus investments would increase soon.
Could you say just a few words about yourself, please? What are some of the things that you love most about your country, what makes it different from all other places in the world?
Well, there is not much to say about myself. I am a professional diplomat. I have been working in the Hungarian embassies in many countries of Latin America, Africa and Middle East. All those people I met are still close to me and I try to follow up events of the countries I worked in. However, being long time abroad one learns the real meaning of homeland. The country where you are really at home, whose achievements are your life, and the one you represent wherever in the world you are. It would be a distortion of the reality to select one or two things I like in Hungary. For me Hungary is the best place in the world and I hope that it is a good place for everyone else.
Do you have any hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I don’t have much free time, actually. I like reading literature, philosophy and history. I like meeting friends and having long discussions. I like to be with my family.
May I ask what your personal impressions are of Moldova?
Moldovans are very friendly and co-operative. I have met sincerity and hospitality here. I think it is the people of Moldova that I like most.
Mr. Ambassador, do you have anything to wish Welcome magazine and its readers?
I wish your magazine to be a good and successful “diplomat” of your country in the English speaking community. I hope all your readers, foreigners and Moldovans, can learn more of this beautiful country.
Prepared by Vlada Popushoi