Brexit a failure for the EC, Szijjártó tells Johnson

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Photo: MTI / Márton Kovács

“Great Britain is one of Hungary’s most important allies,” Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said at a joint press conference in Budapest Friday following talks with visiting British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, adding that Hungary has always counted on Britain’s support in stressing the importance of sovereignty.

Photo: MTI / Márton Kovács

“In Hungary’s opinion, Britain’s exit from the European Union is extremely unfortunate from the EU’s perspective,” said Szijjártó, quoted on official government website kormany.hu.  “We severely regret the decision of the British, but only they have the right to decide on the future of their country. The situation is a failure for the European Commission, because the British Government made it clear what it would require to remain a member of the European Union, but the EC did not hear what the British had to say.”

In the Hungarian minister’s opinion, Brexit is a major economic loss for the EU and also a major political loss, as Hungary could always count on the U.K. in debates on the future of Europe in support of the position that a strong EU can only be built on strong member states.

“We could always count on Britain’s support in stressing the importance of sovereignty,” he noted.

Szijjártó noted that the United Kingdom is Hungary’s 11th most important trade partner, with bilateral trade flow exceeding EUR 5 billion last year and over 800 British companies providing jobs to some 50,000 people in Hungary.

“Although Great Britain is leaving the European Union, it is not abandoning Europe and Hungary,” said Johnson. “Great Britain also remains committed to guaranteeing the security of Central Europe.”

Regarding migration, Johnson said Britain believes the situation of migrants must be handled in the first country in which they arrive; refugees and illegal immigrants must be differentiated, in addition to which the issue of migration must be left within the national sphere of competence, he added.

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