“Scandalous And Hostile”: Hungary Set to Veto Bulgaria's Schengen Membership

  • 18 Dec 2023 10:40 AM
  • Hungary Matters
“Scandalous And Hostile”: Hungary Set to Veto Bulgaria's Schengen Membership
Hungary has made it clear to Bulgaria that it will veto the country’s Schengen membership if a “punitive tariff” on gas transits is maintained by Bulgaria in the long term, the foreign minister said.

Péter Szijjártó said on Facebook on Saturday that Bulgaria’s move was “scandalous and hostile” because it endangered gas transfers to North Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary.

As a result of the current geopolitical and security circumstances, a major part of natural gas supplies required by Hungary arrive through the affected pipeline and Bulgaria’s decision “goes fully against European regulations,” he said. “It carries the risk of natural gas deliveries to, among others, Hungary, stopping completely,” he said.

Szijjártó said that a decision on Bulgaria’s Schengen membership is scheduled to be made next week, “so they have suddenly started making efforts to scrap the law”. “If they cancel it, we will also withdraw our decision concerning the veto,” he added.

Hungary Not Influenced by Positions Of Other EU Member States

Commenting on the suggestion that the Hungarian government was in the minority in the European Union with its stance on Ukraine’s accession talks, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in an interview with French news channel LCI that Hungary was not influenced by the positions of other member states because it respected those positions and wanted its own position to be respected as well. He said there were certain issues in the EU that required unanimity. “And as long as there’s no unanimity, there’s no decision.”

Asked about relations between Hungary and Russia, Szijjártó said the country had a very rational cooperation with Russia on energy, adding that energy security was in Hungary’s national interest.

And energy security, he added, was determined by infrastructure. If gas flows from Russia towards Hungary were interrupted, it would be physically impossible to guarantee Hungary’s energy supply, the minister said, adding that no one could expect Hungary to render its own energy security impossible. Asked if Moscow could threaten EU member states after Ukraine, Szijjártó said he did not believe that Russia would attack a NATO member, noting that most EU countries were also part of NATO.

He argued that NATO was the world’s strongest security and defence alliance and its Article 5 declared that an attack on one member was considered an attack on the whole alliance.

Asked how it was possible that Hungary today was the EU member with the closest ties with Russia after Soviet tanks had “crushed Hungarian freedom” in the 1950s and occupied Hungary, Szijjártó said that Hungary had suffered under communism for 40 years.

“There was an oppression by the East and a kind of negligence by the West,” he said. “We fought for our freedom but no one helped us,” the minister said, adding that no one should lecture Hungary on history, freedom or sovereignty.

“The other issue is that we do believe that if we block the channels of communication with Russia, then we kill the hope for peace,” he said. “Because we want peace to come.”

Asked about the role of European right-wing “sovereignist” political forces, Szijjártó said the EU could not be strengthened on the path of federalisation, arguing that federalisation and the establishment of a “united states of Europe” would only weaken the bloc, while a community of sovereign states strengthened it.

Hungary's Position 'About Future of Europe'


Hungary cannot be bribed or blackmailed because it has its own position that is about the future of Europe, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in an interview with French news channel LCI.

Hungary’s “very principled position”, Szijjártó said, was that European Union accession talks should only start with countries that are prepared and only if the EU itself was prepared. “And we don’t see either of these two when it comes to Ukraine,” he added.

The minister said Hungary had often been accused of using its position on Ukraine as a tactic to gain access to the EU funds that have been withheld from the country, but this was not the case.

Hungary’s position, he said, was that the European Commission had not prepared the issues concerning Ukraine properly.

He noted that the Hungarian government had condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine on multiple occasions and stood by Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Szijjártó said Hungary was “absolutely in favour” of tighter and more effective cooperation between the EU and Ukraine and was arguing in favour of a discussion among EU member states on the bloc’s strategic vision concerning the future of the relationship between the EU and Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Szijjártó Congratulates Polish Counterpart on Appointment

Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó on Friday congratulated Radosław Sikorski on his appointment as Poland’s new foreign minister. Following a phone call with Sikorski, Szijjártó said on Facebook that they “see eye to eye on more things than we would have thought”.

“I wished him much success since the success of brotherly Poland is in the interest of Hungary,” Szijjártó said.

Both parties consider the Visegrad Group as instrumental in promoting shared national interests, Szijjártó said, adding that they were also in agreement concerning the importance of border control.

“We also agreed that the rights of national minorities should be respected as a European value to be maintained in all circumstances,” Szijjártó said.

According to the Facebook post, Sikorski accepted an invitation for an official visit to Hungary.

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