Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó held a press conference at noon on Friday to let Hungarians know that:
- the Hungarian government respects Great Britain’s decision to step out of the European Union;
- the Hungarian government thinks Great Britain’s decision to step out of the European Union was fueled by the EU failed response to the “migration crisis”; and,
- unlike the European Union, the Hungarian government has shown a strong response to the migration crisis and therefore does not have these kinds of problems.
“Obviously, we respect the British people’s decision because every single nation has the right to make decisions about their own country, and every nation has the right to make decisions about the future of their own country,” Szijjártó said.
According to the minister, the most important aspect of the UK’s departure from the European Union, or “Brexit”, is that “we deduce the proper lessons from this”.
Lesson #1 according to Szijjártó:
“I think the first lesson is that the opinion of the people must be heard, and the opinion of the people must be heard in Brussels, too!”
Lesson #2 according to Szijjártó:
“The second lesson is that we cannot continue with the kind of politics that is without consequence, that is, the kind of politics that disregards the opinions of the people of Europe or goes against the will of the European people. It’s in all of our best interest to make sure that Europe is strong, but it’s evident that Europe can only be strong if it can respond to serious challenges with real solutions. Europe cannot be strong if it responds to serious challenges with solutions that weaken European nations and the European Union itself.”
Lesson #3 according to Szijjártó:
“The third lesson is that an era of straightforward politics needs to arrive to Europe. In the previous era, the European Union pursued a hypocritical, politicly correct and dishonest style of politics. This politically correct dishonest style of politics resulted in the European Union not being able to provide real solutions to several very serious crises. Instead, these serious problems needed to be resolved at the Member State level. We think that the time has come for Europe to start calling it like it sees it. And the time has also come to start providing real solutions for real challenges.”
Szijjártó then went on to explain that the technical details of Britain’s departure from the European Union have not quite been worked out yet. He did mention though that he had spoken to several leading British businessmen with interests in Hungary and that they confirmed to him their desire to continue with their operations in the country.
The foreign minister also said that Britain currently contributes 8 percent of the EU budget and that, clearly, withdrawal of Britain means this money is going to have to come from somewhere.
“It’s obvious that every citizen of the European Union expects the European Union to defend them. In the case of the migration crisis, the European Union has been unable to offer a solution that would protect the European Union and the European people. Certain Member States were able to offer solutions, like Hungary. We did provide a solution with the help of other countries with which we were able to protect the Hungarian people. But this did not happen on the European level,” Szijjártó said.
“We know very well that many fellow Hungarians work and live in Great Britain. There’s a lot of debate about how many of them are there. According to the Brits, the number is 55,000. In reality, the number is probably higher. So, there are many thousand, many tens of thousands of Hungarians working in Great Britain.”
Addressing the economic migrant Hungarians residing in the UK, Szijjártó said they have nothing to worry about just yet because the Brexit process will likely take around two years to wind up. He said the fate of these Hungarians will be determined over the coming two years as delegations representing the EU and Great Britain meet to hash out a plan for the non-British citizens residing in Britain.
“The Hungarian government will follow very closely this process and will do everything to make sure that a decision is born which serves the best interests of the Hungarian people,” Szijjártó said.