Hungary's foreign minister has said that the country is a “firm and committed” supporter of Ukraine’s reforms not only because it is a neighbor but also considering the welfare of the ethnic Hungarian community there.
Peter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, made the remarks during a conference organized by the British and Ukrainian governments in London.
Minister Szijjártó said it was “unsportsmanlike” for the European Union to have kept Ukraine waiting to receive visa-free status and to start accession talks.
According to MTI, the minister agreed with his Ukrainian counterpart to set up a working group to define infrastructure development projects. He said the Hungarian government has set aside 50 million USD to provide loans to promote such projects.
The minister said the Hungarian government finds restrictive measures surrounding dual citizenship and native language unacceptable and they would also violate European norms. He added that he has asked Ukrainian government officials to block the measures in parliament.
“We will gladly continue to help Ukraine, but our future relations would no doubt be determined in large part by these unacceptable amendments,” the minister said. He added that the Ukrainian government had promised to maintain rational dialogue with Hungary on this issue.
While in London, Minister Szijjártó held talks with British Finance Minister Philip Hammond and Brexit Minister David Davis.
Hungary is interested in a fair Brexit between the EU and the UK that benefits both sides, he said. He said that if barriers to trade and economic ties were forthcoming then it would also hurt the Hungarian economy.
The minister added that Hungary’s interests lie in the two sides striking a broad free trade agreement and a deal that allows them to forge a new strategic partnership. The EU and the UK should strike a deal that guarantees reciprocal rights for each other’s citizens, he said.
Szijjártó warned against any desire for “revenge” on the part of the EU, as this would prevent an EU-UK free trade deal and hurt the EU’s competitiveness.