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Jan 17, 2018

Irish PM visit to Hungary was important to build relations post-Brexit, says ambassador

Hungary’s ambassador to Ireland has written a well-received piece for The Irish Times defending Ireland’s prime ministerial visit to the country

Hungary’s ambassador to Ireland has written a well-received piece for The Irish Times defending Ireland’s prime ministerial visit to the country.

Ambasador István Pálffy said Leo Varadkar’s official visit to Hungary to meet Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was an important one because “a government has to engage with other countries, to build relations post-Brexit, find areas of mutual interest and work together as deeply as possible”.

The prime ministers discussed “issues of common interest” and raised issues where Ireland disagrees with Hungary. “Equally, the Hungarian government is not afraid to discuss questions where we do not agree with our partners,” the ambassador wrote.

PM Orbán expressed to the Irish premier that he was not in favor of the EU response to the migrant crisis and maintained the point that the EU’s external borders have to be protected. Ambasador Pálffy clarified at this point that the Hungarian government is not against legal migration, but firmly opposes any mandatory relocation quotas.

Ireland and Hungary agree on many things, including opposing any move to harmonize taxes in the EU and the need to protect the Common Agricultural Policy, the ambassador declared.

Both PM Varadkar and PM Orbán agreed it was important for both countries to be able to set their own tax rules to allow for competition, he added.

The ambassador also revealed how there was a mutual understanding on Brexit and both countries want to see a close relationship between the UK and EU in future, including uninterrupted trade in goods and services, which is more important for Ireland than to Hungary.