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Dec 14, 2016

PM Orbán meets the EU's chief Brexit negotiator to make sure Hungarians and Brits are looked after

During the meeting, held in Budapest on Tuesday, PM Orbán said that Hungary has a vested interest in a Brexit which is fair, and not punitive

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has met with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, to thrash out logistics for ensuring both Hungarians and Brits are looked after when the UK leaves the European Union.

During the meeting, held in Budapest on Tuesday, PM Orbán said that Hungary has a vested interest in a Brexit which is fair, and not punitive.

Michel Barnier, who is the head of the task force set up to conduct negotiations in London on Brexit – the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU – came to Budapest in order to learn about the criteria which are important for Hungary in this context.

At the meeting – which was also attended by János Lázár, the minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office – PM Orbán outlined the Hungarian position. The essence of this is to ensure that the rights acquired by Hungarians studying and working in the United Kingdom are not curtailed in the future. The prime minister also stressed the importance of continued stability for Hungarian employees of British businesses in Hungary.

The Hungarian prime minister and Barnier – who has previously served as the foreign minister of France and the EU commissioner for Internal Market and Services – agreed that the rights and obligations which EU membership confers on both the UK the other EU member states will remain unchanged until the moment that membership is terminated.

Hungary also has an interest in the maintenance of strong relations between the EU and the UK after Brexit. Bertalan Havasi, head of the Press Office of the Prime Minister, concluded that PM Orbán had stressed that the EU’s four fundamental freedoms must be enforced equitably on both sides after the UK’s withdrawal.