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Feb 10, 2017

Britain has Hungary's support during Brexit negotiations

Hungary-UK economic ties are expanding and there are currently 800 British companies in Hungary employing 50,000 people. Meanwhile, bilateral trade grew by 15 percent in 2015

Britain can count on the support of the Hungarian government in reaching an acceptable Brext deal with the EU, László Szabó, deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has said.

The minister said that it is important for Hungary that negotiations over conditions attached to Britain’s exit from the European Union should not be of a punitive nature but pragmatic, after meeting officials from the UK’s foreign ministry, trade ministry as well as the CBI and IoD business lobbies, in London on Thursday.

He said that the EU should not try to punish Britain but instead create an environment in which member states want to remain because they see the bloc’s value. Brussels should learn from its mistake of failing to pay attention to the voices of European people, he added. Hungary wants the Brexit talks to be fair and transparent, he said.

Asked about the future prospects of Hungarian citizens living in the UK, Szabó said that in the course of his talks, representatives of business and politicians alike said they could not imagine how Britain would stay functional without workers from central and eastern Europe. The UK jobless rate is rather low and it is clear that if suddenly there were to be an exodus of workers, the country would be in trouble. British officials understand this, he added.

Szabó said Hungary-UK economic ties were expanding and there are currently 800 British companies in Hungary employing 50,000 people. Meanwhile, bilateral trade grew by 15 percent in 2015.

The state secretary said Hungary was not actively encouraging British companies to leave the UK in order to relocate to Hungary, but if they are inclined to move elsewhere then they should know that Hungary would provide an “ideal operating” environment.