EU, Hungary Talks 'Frustrating', Says Szijjártó

  • 6 Mar 2023 6:21 AM
  • Hungary Matters
EU, Hungary Talks 'Frustrating', Says Szijjártó
Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said talks under way between Hungary and the EU on community funding were “frustrating”.

He said the EU’s freezing the funds due to Hungary was “no problem in terms of the budget”, but it was “a matter of principle”.

Funds to members from the EU budget are “not humanitarian donations” and refusing to make those payments for political reasons is “unacceptable”, he insisted.

The conflict between Hungary and the EU “arises from the fact that Brussels does not like the way the government rules the country”, he said, adding that the government “opposes federalism and supports national competencies”.

“We are a right-wing, patriotic and Christian government running fully against the mainstream and Brussels cannot swallow that,” he said.

Concerning Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership, Szijjártó said the Hungarian government supported their bids, adding he thought parliament would support a relevant proposal by the government now before the assembly.

Asked about Hungary’s support for the Bosnian Serb Republic, Szijjártó said Hungary had “very good” relations with Serbia, and considered stability in the Western Balkans crucial.

Economic stability is a key component, that is why the Hungarian government supports small and medium-sized companies in the Bosnian republic, he added.

Kövér: EU, NATO Not Taking Steps Towards Peace

Neither the European Union nor NATO are taking steps towards peace in Ukraine, but rather increasing escalation, Speaker of Parliament László Kövér told commercial HírTV.

Concerning the criticisms levelled at Hungary’s parliament over not having debated Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession bids until now, Kövér said Hungary was a sovereign country whose parliament sets its agenda at its own discretion.

Sweden and Finland will not be able to join the alliance until Türkiye gives its approval, the speaker said, adding that this was unlikely to happen until it holds elections later this year. Kövér said it could take until the summer NATO summit for both countries to be ratified by all member states.

He said the reason why Hungary was sending parliamentary delegations to Sweden and Finland was because the ruling Fidesz and Christian Democrat parliamentary groups had expressed concern and did not consider the decision on the ratification to be an automatic one.

At the same time, he added, it should be clarified that Hungary is a sovereign member of both NATO and the EU and had joined both organisations voluntarily. Hungary does not believe that its position within these alliances has changed over the last decades, he said.

The politicians who are now asking for Hungary’s support have behaved in a way “that would have been considered harsh even coming from our enemies”, Kövér said.

It should be made clear that they have no right to interfere in Hungarian politics, Kövér said, adding that an alliance involves trust, “which was thoroughly undermined before the accession”.

He said support for Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession was not a question of “good manners or sensitivity”, insisting that the two countries had insulted Hungary for years and had caused damage to its national interests.

They are now pressuring EU institutions not to give Hungary the funding it is entitled to, he added. Kövér said the Hungarian delegation will meet with the Swedish and Finnish parliamentary speakers, relevant committees and foreign ministers on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

The delegation will be headed by Fidesz lawmaker Csaba Hende and will include Zsolt Németh, the head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, and MEPs Enikő Győri and Ernő Schaller-Baross, he added.

Kövér said the Swedish and Finnish armies were well-prepared and well-equipped and would strengthen NATO. He added, at the same time, that the 1,340km border NATO and Russia will share because of Finland increased the risk of a future military conflict between them.

He said the 60 billion US dollars’ worth of weapons EU and NATO member states had sent to Ukraine made them party to the conflict. Peace, he said, was ultimately dependent on Russia and Ukraine.

Neither the EU nor NATO are taking steps towards peace, but rather increasing escalation, the speaker said. Kövér urged a compromise that takes into consideration both Ukraine’s territorial integrity and Russia’s security expectations.

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