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Feb 13, 2020

Foreign minister on the EPP, Germany, migration and preserving Christian Europe

The foreign minister said maintaining Schengen is critical for the EU’s competitiveness and the effective protection of external borders is necessary for this to work.

The foreign minister has revealed how the Austrian People’s Party (OVP) was “very rational” in the debate over Fidesz within the European People’s Party (EPP).

During an interview with the APA news agency, Péter Szijjártó said OVP politicians’ attitude to Hungary was “sober minded”, even if “this was not always detectable in the vote”. The majority of EPP and OVP lawmakers voted in favor of launching an Article 7 procedure against Hungary in the European Parliament.

According to MTI, Minister Szijjártó called Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz a “close friend”, adding that their friendship dated back to their period of being the youngest European foreign ministers in office. He said they had agreed on issues concerning Europe’s future and supported one another.

Minister Szijjártó also said the EPP had “shifted to the left considerably” over the past few years. The minister insisted that Fidesz had suspended exercising its rights in the EPP in March 2019 while charges related to its violation of the EU’s fundamental rights are investigated.

The minister added that Fidesz was looking forward to the debate the EPP planned regarding the party, “if it is given a chance to participate in it”.

Meanwhile, assessing the trip he and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán paid to Berlin for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on Monday, Minister Szijjártó highlighted Hungary’s strong economic and trade relations with Germany, while noting considerable differences in the two countries’ migration policy.

“We think that the preservation of Christian European culture must be a priority in Europe; and we must protect our borders to achieve that,” Minister Szijjártó said. He added that the idea that Europe should formulate a common European migration policy had failed, arguing the right “cannot be taken away” from any European member state to decide on whom it wants to live with or whom it allows to enter its territory.

What's more, Minister Szijjártó said that Hungary and Flanders (the Flemish speaking part of Belgium) held similar views on several dilemmas the European Union was facing and maintained “identical positions on strategic points”.

The minister said both nations have an interest in a strong EU and agree that the EU can only be strong if it is built on strong nations that preserve their identity and are proud of their cultural, historical and religious heritage.

During a joint press conference with Minister-President of Flanders Jan Jambon yesterday, Minister Szijjártó said they were in agreement that the EU must be able to protect itself and the defense of external borders was an important issue.

The minister said maintaining Schengen is also critical for the EU’s competitiveness and the effective protection of external borders is necessary for this to work.

Photo credit: Magyar Hírlap