Gaining experience and knowledge through information exchange

A town twinning was organized in Székelyhíd between 26-29 August. The event, entitled “Building a more cohesive EU through agricultural information exchange”, was attended by representatives from Edelény, Héhalom, Mucsony (Hungary), Kamocsa and Kürt (Slovakia) and of course the host city of Székelyhíd.

The event was organized for the third time by Ér Hangja Association in cooperation with the Mayor’s Office of Székelyhíd and also with the support of the Europe for Citizens program.

The four-day program of the twinning meeting included a series of presentations, round table discussions and demonstrations to introduce the participating delegations and the interested public to the problems, issues and challenges affecting current and future agricultural policy and other economic factors in the European Union.

A number of other activities made the event even more attractive and interesting for the participants, including a small-scale producers’ exhibition, a cooking competition, a folk dance and folk music show.

Small Farmers’ Exhibition and Fair

After arriving on 26 August, the representatives of the twin municipalities settled into their accommodation and the following day, they took part in a series of events.

The next day, in the early hours of the morning, the Farmers’ Day included an international – but also local – product exhibition and fair, where participants could not only discover a variety of delicious regional products and handicrafts, but also the products of the delegations of the twin towns from their own regions.

Future of the EU, draft budget

Later, in the recently renovated Székelyhíd Municipal Theatre, the representatives of the municipalities attended a lecture by MEP Gyula Winkler, Vice-Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, on the new EU guidelines, with a special focus on the Common Agricultural Policy and how the new EU budget of 2021-2027 will determine future plans and trends. In his speech, Gyula Winkler said that in the post- pandemic economic recovery, we must not aim for pre-pandemic levels, but move forward, and this can only be achieved by increasing investment and phasing in reforms. There will be a strong focus on support, especially for young and small farmers, and a strong emphasis on organic standards. As there are substantial differences in levels between regions in the European Union, it should be up to each country to decide how to use the funds.

At the end of the presentation, the representatives of the twin municipalities spoke in TV and radio interviews about the importance of volunteering, among other things, and explained the benefits of various activities in agriculture and other sectors in their own municipalities for the communities and target groups.

Cultural and tradition-building meetings

The Children Jesus Leisure and Sports Centre in Székelyhíd provided the venue for the delegations’ performances of folk traditions, where a colorful folklore cavalcade was presented. The audience was able to watch and listen to traditional folk song and dance performances of the twin villages, and the local Zajgó Folk Dance Ensemble was also represented.

During the evening, an informal get-together took place, with a wine tasting. The representatives of the twin villages had the opportunity to admire the former count’s cellar, now owned by the Domahidi family. Csaba Béres, Mayor of Székelyhíd, welcomed the guests as the host, and in his speech, he emphasized how important it is to fill the twinning relations with life, and the wine tasting is an excellent opportunity to do so. Afterwards, the representatives of the guest municipalities welcomed the participants, also stressing the importance of togetherness.

Noémi Pálfi, mayoral advisor and wine expert, briefly introduced the wine region of Érmellék and the winemakers, whose wines were also tasted. Attila Hegedűs from Érmihályfalva and Mátyás Erdei from Hegyközszentmiklós presented their winery and wines. Guests could also taste the wines of the Lengyel Winery in Székelyhíd and Yanka Winery in Bihardiószeg, while tasting artisanal cheeses (Netty cheese) and other wine products from Érköbölkút.

There was also a nice selection of wines from the highland region of Kürt, as well as local delicacies. The informal discussions also allowed for an exchange of experiences between the winemakers. Singing and dancing were also part of the evening, which is likely to be remembered by all present.

Introducing the settlements

On the third day, the twinning presentations took place in the St. Laszló Hall of the City Museum. After a short welcome speech by Mayor Csaba Béres, the President of Ér Hangja Association, Tímea Aszalós, also welcomed the audience. She said that being a week after the Hungarian nation’s new bread celebration, she felt that we all belonged to the same wheat field, just from different grains, but each of us a unique grain of wheat, and she was happy that they were all there.

Afterwards, the RMDSZ deputy Ödön Szabó welcomed everyone, and in his speech, he spoke about the current economic situation in Romania and the production opportunities. He stressed the importance of regional cooperation, participation in training courses and the transfer of agricultural skills by supporting young farmers. Afterwards, the guest representatives presented their localities, highlighting their characteristics, the projects they have carried out and their plans for the future. Mayor Csaba Béres also presented the city of Székelyhíd, its plans and perspectives for the coming period, and the funding opportunities the city administration would like to implement.

In the afternoon, the delegations visited the local Stubenberg Castle, the children’s home of the St. Francis of Déva Foundation, run by Franciscan priest Csaba Böjte, where they were able to learn about the workings of the children’s home and admire the castle itself. Later in the evening, the members of the delegations took part in various cultural events at the newly inaugurated “Szabó Ódzsa” Municipal Theatre in Székelyhíd.

On the fourth day, 29 August, on the final day of the twinning meeting, the participating delegations listened to a lecture on the future of the EU by Csaba Béres, and then had the opportunity to cook and present their traditional stew in a friendly competition. The event, organized in the area of the Children Jesus Leisure and Sports Centre in Székelyhíd, was held in a great atmosphere despite the varied weather, where visitors could taste many delicious dishes and get an insight into the traditional flavors of the different communities. Of course, in addition to the delicious food, toasts were also offered.

Author:Szyártó József László