The improvement of competitiveness and environmental protection should go hand in hand, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris.
Hungary is proud to be one of 21 countries that have achieved economic growth while reducing their harmful emissions, Minister Szijjártó told the meeting on trade and sustainability. Minister Szijjártó stressed that Europe must not allow its environmental protection measures to put it at a competitive disadvantage over its global rivals. He also said that if the European Union were too strict with its partners as regards political regimes and environmental protection measures in trade agreements, it could eventually find itself in a position where “we can only trade with ourselves”, causing it to lose the significant potential for growth. Minister Szijjártó underscored that environmental protection must not be “held hostage” by any sort of ideology or philosophy. He also urged a fact-based debate on which energy sources could be considered clean and green, saying it was important to ensure fair competitive conditions for nuclear energy. Investments in the peaceful use of nuclear energy should not be discriminated against, especially now that the energy security of many member states is at stake, Minister Szijjártó said.