Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the European Union “is withholding Hungary’s funds owing to political reasons, unfairly, and without any legal basis.”
Speaking in Brussels on Thursday, the foreign minister said the European Commission’s conditions were piling up and were “becoming unfair”. Answering a question at a press conference in the break of a European Foreign Affairs Council meeting, Minister Szijjártó said the commission’s preconditions for Hungary linked to the rule of law were “like an unending GPS”. “You indicate the destination, and you see that originally it was five kilometres away, but you have been driving for three days and the GPS still gives you instructions to turn right, turn left, turn around,” he said. He said it was unfair that “Hungary has already met the requirements but there is always a new one.” Minister Szijjártó said the funds Hungary was entitled to “isn’t Brussels’s own money … it is made up of the work of Europeans including Hungarian people,” he said. “A large part of those resources are owed to Hungary so that, for example, we could give teachers a significant pay rise,” he said. Concerning the recent visit by Pope Francis to Budapest, Minister Szijjártó said the government had offered its support for the pontiff in his efforts to mediate a ceasefire in Ukraine and peace talks with Russia. “The Vatican can rely on Hungary and the Hungarian government in all respects. We are very grateful to the Holy Father for so firmly supporting the cause of peace,” he said. Sending weapons to Ukraine would “point towards an escalation of the war rather than peace,” he said. Hungary, he added, would continue to refuse to send weapons or assist with ammunition deliveries. “We firmly ask everybody to concentrate on peace talks rather than on weapons shipments,” he added. Referring to Sudan, Minister Szijjártó said everybody fleeing from the war had the right to asylum in the first safe country, and he advised the EU to assist countries in the region in providing for the refugees. “It is very important, however, that Brussels does not start tempting people in Sudan to come to Europe, because another wave of migration cannot be handled,” he said.