The governments of Romania and Hungary held their first joint Cabinet meeting on Thursday in Bucharest, marking a historic reconciliation between the two neighbors. The two countries have been at odds in the past over the rights of the 1.4 million strong Hungarian minority living in Romania's northwest Transylvanian region, which was part of Hungary for several centuries until 1918.
"This is a historic first in the region," said Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu as he opened the session. "Our governments will adopt together decisions that will affect our countries' future development."
Tariceanu also noted that Hungary, a new European Union member supports Romania's admission into the bloc, the AP reports.
Hungary's premier Ferenc Gyurcsany said the joint meeting showed the two countries had surpassed a difficult, conflict-filled past and noted that Hungary's parliament has already ratified Romania's EU membership treaty.
Romania's Deputy Prime Minister Bela Marko, whose party represents ethnic Hungarians, recounted an ethnic riot in 1990, when Romanians and ethnic Hungarians clashed in the northwest city of Targu Mures, leaving six dead.
The two governments agreed to cooperate in areas such as transportation, health care, information technology, culture and the social welfare system. They will also work together to fight cross-border crime and illegal migration. A.M.