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Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. Screenshot from BBC interview

Hungarian FM interviewed by German media on relationship with Brussels

Hungary is not being treated fairly by Brussels, said Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. He also commented on Hunagry's future in the European People’s Party.

Published: July 15, 2019, 10:00 am

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    In an interview with Munich-based daily Suddeutsche Zeitung Szijjarto said foreign politicians and the international press were “unfair” to Hungary on the matter.

    “In the migration debate nobody has ever talked about the fact that we have spent 34 million euros so far to help Middle Eastern and African Christians stay in their own countries. We build schools, renovate churches and demolished homes, finance hospitals. We do this to keep those living there safe at home. It is a human right that nobody should be forced to migrate, that people should be able to live in their country safely, without being under threat,” the minister pointed out.

    Instead of bringing problems to Europe, the Hungarian government believes help should rather be given where it is needed, he said.

    Answering a question on the government’s ad campaign, Szijjarto said Hungarians had to be informed about what is happening in Brussels.

    “It is unacceptable to us that illegal migrants should come to Europe. It is unacceptable that they should be distributed based on mandatory quotas,” Szijjarto underscored, adding that the most important thing to Hungary is to defend the external borders of the Schengen zone.

    The newspaper also questioned the minister on the relationship between Fidesz and the European People’s Party. Szijjarto highlighted that the Hungarian governing party, which won 53 percent of the votes in the recent European parliamentary election, is the most successful member of the EPP. The EPP has “shifted too far in a liberal, left-wing direction” in its cooperation with the Social Democrats, he said.

    “For us, the most important thing is to represent the will of the Hungarian people. It is solely up to us whether we will leave the EPP. We will stay as long as it is within the EPP that we can best represent Hungary’s interests,” Szijjarto said.

    The Minister also talked about the candidacy of German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen for the presidency of the European Commission. He said von der Leyen is a good candidate who has always treated Hungary fairly and respectfully, and all 13 MEPs of Fidesz will support her election.

    He said the German southern federal state of Bavaria was not just a strategic ally, but a real friend to Hungary.This friendship is deeply rooted in the two countries’ shared histories, he added.

    Answering a question concerning the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA), Szijjarto said the freedom of science and research will always be guaranteed in Hungary, as the government supports science and will increase the funding of research but added that the Orban administration had the right to set priorities.

    Meanwhile, according to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry’s website, Szijjarto noted in a recent statement in Toronto, Canada on July 3: “Hungary is recommending to the Ukrainian leadership that relations between the two countries should return to their usual track, when the previously acquired rights of the Hungarian national community living in Transcarpathia [Zakarpattia] had not been taken away.”

    Szijjarto said that the “previous Ukrainian leadership and President Poroshenko had practiced decidedly anti-Hungarian politics, as a result of which the rights of the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia had been seriously curtailed.”

    New President Vladimir Zelensky, represented a renewed hope “that Ukraine will not be practicing anti-Hungarian politics,” Szijjarto said. “The true watershed will be whether Zelensky implements the legislative changes following the parliamentary elections, as a result of which the Hungarian national community regain their previous rights.”

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