FM: Europe needs strategic autonomy

The foreign minister said the continent would lose out if it kept following other global political players instead of enforcing its own interests.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that Europe needs strategic autonomy, arguing that the continent would lose out if it kept following other global political players instead of enforcing its own interests.

Minister Szijjártó held talks with the foreign affairs and defense committee of France’s Senate in Paris on Wednesday, discussing primarily the war in Ukraine and its consequences. The war has significantly weakened Europe both politically and economically, the minister said. “It has weakened the continent politically because the past one year, three months and two weeks have not been enough for us to move closer to peace; we haven’t been able to stop this war,” he said. “And secondly, we’ve become weaker economically because owing to the differences between the European and American responses to the war, European businesses find themselves at a huge competitive disadvantage compared with American businesses,” he added. Minister Szijjártó said that whereas the US Inflation Reduction Act “shamelessly and completely openly supports American companies against European ones”, European sanctions were hurting Europe’s economy more than Russia’s. This puts European businesses at a huge competitive disadvantage, and all of the negative effects are felt in the vicinity of the war first, he said. “Moreover, we represent a nation whose members are dying in the war, so I told the members of the French Senate’s foreign affairs and defence committee that Hungary has an absolute interest in peace,” Minister Szijjártó said. “We, of course, condemn the war,” he said. “The question is not what we think of the war or its outbreak, but rather how it will end,” he added. “There is no resolution to this war on the battlefield, only casualties,” Minister Szijjártó said. Every single new delivery of weapons brings more casualties, so Europe should instead concentrate on creating peace, he said. “Of course, this approach of ours is out of line with that of the European mainstream,” Minister Szijjártó said, adding that it also differed from France’s approach in several ways. But what is certain is that France and Hungary agree that Europe is in need of some sort of strategic autonomy and the ability to make its own decisions and enforce its own interests, he said. Because if it constantly follows other world political players, it will lose out, he added.