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"We knew that by opening the Hungarian-Austrian border, we would make the Berlin Wall absolutely useless but it collapsed earlier than we expected."

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"We knew that by opening the Hungarian-Austrian border, we would make the Berlin Wall absolutely useless but it collapsed earlier than we expected."

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Sergio Cantone – Brussels correspondent, euronews: “Laszlo Kovacs from Hungary is the EU Taxation Commissioner. His country was part of the Soviet Block. Commissioner Kovacs what did you do exactly when the Berlin Wall fell down that night?”

Laszlo Kovacs – EU Taxation Commissioner: “I was in Budapest in my flat and watching television as many millions or hundreds of million of people were because the fall of the Berlin Wall was the fall of the symbol of the Cold War, the division of Europe. And at that moment I was thinking and remembering the beginning because Chancellor Helmut Kohl declared that Hungary was the first country that removed the first brick from the Berlin Wall when it opened the Hungarian/Austrian border two months before. And we should tell that one year later we could witness the reunification of the two German States, so it was really an event of historic importance.” Sergio Cantone – Brussels correspondent, euronews: “Did you have the impression that this was the end of the Soviet and socialist system?” Laszlo Kovacs – EU Taxation Commissioner: “At that time, yes. But what is interesting is two months before, when we opened the Hungarian/Austrian border, our expectation didn’t go so far. At that time we knew that by opening the border, we would make the Berlin Wall absolutely useless but it collapsed earlier than we expected.” Sergio Cantone – Brussels correspondent, euronews: “How about the other Hungarians that night of 9th November. Do you think they had the impression that everything was over?” Laszlo Kovacs – EU Taxation Commissioner: “I think yes because in Hungary in the meantime the political and economic transition had gone rather far. We were preparing for the first really free and democratic elections. So the changes had gone very far in Hungary, like in the other or most of the other Soviet Block countries. Poland was the front-runner but Hungary was following Poland and I think the other countries were also following.” Sergio Cantone – Brussels correspondent, euronews: “How did Hungary change after this big regime change that happened twenty years ago?” Laszlo Kovacs – EU Taxation Commissioner: “As far as foreign policy is concerned and I was Foreign Minister twice the major change was reflected by our aspiration to join the European Union and NATO, which we managed to do.” Sergio Cantone – Brussels correspondent, euronews: “Commissioner, you were a member of the communist party and at the head of the International Relations Department during those days. And now you are also a politician in Europe and a member of the European Union is there any link between the two?” Laszlo Kovacs – EU Taxation Commissioner: “Certainly there are some links even some personal links because when I was working in the Party, the Headquarters of the Party in the early 80’s I was deputy Head of the International Department – I was not the Head, as you upgraded me, I was dealing with Hungary’s relations with the Western Countries and also the relations between the Hungarian Party and the Western Social Democratic Parties. And many of my former colleagues with whom I got acquainted even in the youth movement are now in high ranking positions in all over Western Europe as leaders of Social Democrat parties.” Sergio Cantone – Brussels correspondent, euronews: “Thank you very much Commissioner for sharing your memories with us.”