The foreign minister said Hungary’s government firmly rejects the accusation that it is “pushing the Russian narrative” in connection with European Union sanctions.
Speaking in Brussels on Monday, Péter Szijjártó said no economy is suffering as much from the sanctions as that of the EU, where inflation has skyrocketed. “And we know very well who has profited from this,” he added. Minister Szijjártó said it was “pointless” to compare the amount of support the EU has given Ukraine with what the United States has given. The sanctions imposed by the bloc have failed to live up to expectations and failed to bring a quicker end to the war, Minister Szijjártó said, adding that there had been some at Monday’s meeting “who denied the mere existence of this argument”. He said ministers at the meeting had engaged in an “emotionally charged, ideological debate which left little room for common sense and rationality”. In the debate on a potential ninth sanctions package, “some even went as far as saying that those who say the sanctions aren’t working are pushing the Russian narrative”, Minister Szijjártó said. “This is outrageous, this must be rejected in the strongest possible terms”, he added. “It’s possible that others don’t understand this, but we don’t care what the Russians think about what we say,” Minister Szijjártó said. “We don’t even care what they think in Brussels about what we say and think. We only care about looking at every existing issue in relation to our own national interests”. “It has to be acknowledged that the sanctions are causing immense harm to the functioning of the European economy,” he said.
Minister Szijjártó said there was no legitimacy to the argument that the warring sides should not hold direct or indirect talks. “Peace is needed; peace talks are needed, and this means that the participants of the war must talk to each other as soon as possible,” he said. Concerning a proposed EU aid package to Ukraine, the minister said Hungary was ready to keep supporting Ukraine, but strictly on a bilateral basis, and would not contribute to a joint EU loan. “Our shared future doesn’t lie in the direction of shared debt,” he said. “We started supporting Ukraine a lot earlier than those in Europe who are now portraying themselves as Ukraine’s best friends.” As regards cooperation between the EU and African countries, the minister underscored the importance of protecting Europe’s borders, taking action against people smuggling rings and supporting African states in eliminating the root causes of migration. Asked about a German parliamentary resolution passed last week calling on the EU to cut 7.5 billion euros in funding for Hungary over concerns about corruption and the state of the rule of law, Szijjártó called the motion “political blackmail”.