Miklós Soltėsz, Hungarian Secretary of State for Churches, Minorities and Civil Affairs: “you are reliable partners in many humanitarian projects”
The meeting between Miklós Soltėsz, Hungarian Secretary of State for Churches, Minorities and Civil Affairs and Ambassador Stefano Ronca, Secretary General for Foreign Affairs, was carried out in a climate of great cordiality. Many topics were discussed during the talks in the Magistral Palace, starting with the important cooperation agreements between the Hungarian Republic and the Order of Malta, particularly that signed in 2010 for humanitarian aid and the recent Memorandum for the Protection of Persecuted Minorities, signed last October in Budapest. Agreements that testify to a solid and long-lasting cooperation, reinforced by the thirty years of diplomatic relations to be celebrated in 2020.
“I want to thank the Hungarian government for its support and aid for our health and social care projects in Hungary,” said Ambassador Ronca, recalling the important role played by the Order of Malta’s association, and especially the work of its relief corps (MMSz). “You are a reliable and steadfast partner for our institutions,” the Secretary of State for Churches, Minorities and Civil Affairs replied.
MMSZ is currently present nationwide in 350 locations – run by a staff of 5000 with 15,000 volunteers – and it has 142 local groups. The main areas of intervention are programmes for supporting disadvantaged students, assisting the disabled and elderly, distributing meals to the homeless, supporting the Roma community and – as the Secretary of State for Churches, Minorities and Civil Affairs said – all the vulnerable minorities, including those million Hungarians living outside the country. The partnership between the Order of Malta and Hungary is also expressed through international projects for assisting conflict victims, such as those in Syria.
Besides the thirty-years of diplomatic relations, next year the 80th birthday will also be celebrated of Father Imre Kozma, founder of the Order of Malta’s Hungarian relief corps. It was he who, on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall, organised in Budapest assistance for almost 50,000 refugees pouring out of East Germany.