EU Withholding Funds To Hungary 'For Political Reasons', its Unfair & Illegal Says FM

  • 5 May 2023 12:35 PM
  • Hungary Matters
EU Withholding Funds To Hungary 'For Political Reasons', its Unfair & Illegal Says FM
The European Union “is withholding Hungary’s funds owing to political reasons, unfairly, and without any legal basis,” Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Brussels on Thursday, adding that the European Commission’s conditions were piling up and were “becoming unfair”.

Answering a question at a press conference in the break of a European Foreign Affairs Council meeting, Szijjártó said the commission’s preconditions for Hungary linked to the rule of law were “like an unending GPS”.

“You indicate the destination, and you see that originally it was five kilometres away, but you have been driving for three days and the GPS still gives you instructions to turn right, turn left, turn around,” he said.

He said it was unfair that “Hungary has already met the requirements but there is always a new one.”
Szijjártó said the funds Hungary was entitled to “isn’t Brussels’s own money … it is made up of the work of Europeans including Hungarian people,” he said.

“A large part of those resources are owed to Hungary so that, for example, we could give teachers a significant pay rise,” he said.

Concerning the recent visit by Pope Francis to Budapest, Szijjártó said the government had offered its support for the pontiff in his efforts to mediate for a ceasefire in Ukraine and peace talks with Russia.

“The Vatican can rely on Hungary and the Hungarian government in all respects. We are very grateful to the Holy Father for so firmly supporting the cause of peace,” he said. Sending weapons to Ukraine would “point towards an escalation of the war rather than peace,” he said.

Hungary, he added, would continue to refuse to send weapons or assist with ammunitions deliveries. “We firmly ask everybody to concentrate on peace talks rather than on weapons shipments,” he added.

Referring to Sudan, Szijjártó said everybody fleeing from war had the right to asylum in the first safe country, and he advised the EU to assist countries in the region in providing for the refugees.

“It is very important, however, that Brussels does not start tempting people in Sudan to come to Europe, because another wave of migration cannot be handled,” he said.

Szijjártó: Ukraine War Has Triggered Energy, Food Security And Economic Crises

The war in Ukraine has triggered a “triple” energy, food security and economic crisis which is only being aggravated by the measures adopted by Brussels, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Brussels.

The only solution to the situation is peace, Szijjártó told a press conference after a meeting of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council, according to a ministry statement.

Citing data from the United Nations, Szijjártó said that a total of 94 countries were affected by at least two of the three crises caused by the war. Though energy prices have stabilised, they are now at a much higher level, and inflation and rising interest rates have deprived several countries, including Hungary, of their growth potential, he said.

Szijjártó warned of the potential security risks posed by the food crisis, arguing that because it affected the most vulnerable African and Middle Eastern countries the most, it could it could easily lead to violence, a rise in the threat of terrorism and eventually the emergence of a new migration wave.

“And Europe, in its current state, would be incapable of handling another mass migration wave,” the minister said. He said Brussels’s “severely flawed” responses to the “triple crisis” were “raising the price of the war in Europe even higher”.

Instead of restricting energy imports, Europe should have increased them, he said. Also, Brussels is hindering member states in their own energy production, too, he said, noting the “pressure to impose sanctions on nuclear energy”.

“I would like to make it clear here and now that this will definitely not happen,” Szijjártó said. “Hungary will not approve any kind nuclear sanction, no matter how minimal it may be.” Turning to the economy, Szijjártó said that while the United States had introduced “patriotic measures”, the EU had only imposed more sanctions.

“The American measure is good for every American economic player, while the measures introduced by Brussels … have practically totally knocked out European economic competitiveness,” he said.

As regards the food crisis, Szijjártó lamented that Ukrainian grain, instead of being shipped to the African and Middle Eastern countries where it was most needed, had got stuck in central Europe and had “ruined” local farmers.

“In a situation like this, it would have been the European Commission’s duty to take immediate action…” Szijjártó said.

“So it basically became clear that Brussels can’t be counted on when it comes to such a critical issue … If we don’t protect Hungarian farmers, no one will do it for us.” Talks on a solution are ongoing, he said, adding that the Hungarian government would only approve a decision that guaranteed Ukrainian grain exports not ending up in central Europe.

He said the “dumping” of Ukrainian grain on local markets was “unacceptable”, noting that EU farmers had to comply with an “entirely different” set of rules than Ukrainian farmers.

“The only solution to this immense set of challenges is peace,” Szijjártó said. “If the war could be brought to an end, if a ceasefire could be achieved and if peace talks could be held, there would be realistic hope for successfully managing this triple crisis.”

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