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Szijjártó says Australia, Hungary in sync on migration

Int’l Relations

The migration policies of Australia and Hungary fully coincide, and Hungary therefore firmly supports Australia’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó stated in a telephone interview given to Hungarian news agency MTI after his talks in Canberra on Wednesday.

Hungary was elected to the UN body for a period of three years last fall, and therefore if Australia is also elected this year, the two countries will be able to cooperate for two years in the interests of gaining wider acceptance for what Szijjártó described as their “identical migration policies,” the minister was cited as saying on government website kormany.hu.

“The Australians, too, reserve the right for themselves to decide whom to let into their own country, reserve the right to protect their borders,” said Szijjártó. “Hungary shares the view that the decision on who may enter the territory of the European Union should be made outside the EU, in so-called hot spots.”

The minister added that, similarly to Hungary, Australia has also recently tightened its anti-terrorism law, and has implemented immigration detention for those who arrive in the country illegally and apply for asylum. (Recently Hungaryʼs government has similarly broached the idea of holding asylum seekers in detention pending assessment of their claims, in what it euphemistically describes as “shelters.”)

Expanding economic ties

According to the minister’s account, economic relations between Hungary and Australia are growing dynamically. Bilateral trade reached almost USD 500 million (HUF 145 billion) last year. Hungarian exports accounted for USD 440 million, mostly vehicle and machine industry products, while the pharmaceutical industry is also successfully increasing its exports to Australia, said Szijjártó.

In order for Budapest to be able to further improve the market presence of Hungarian businesses, it is a committed supporter of the free trade agreement to be concluded by Australia and the European Union, Szijjártó was reported as saying on kormany.hu. To this end, it is encouraging the EU to make use of the “historic opportunity” presented by Australia now seeking new partnerships, on account of the withdrawal of the United States from negotiations on the multilateral trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Szijjártó also noted that Hungary has opened a credit facility worth HUF 215 billion with Eximbank from which it will seek to finance the expansion of Hungarian businesses on the Australian market.

The minister added that an agreement has been reached that when Hungary assumes the presidency of the cooperation of the Visegrád Four countries in July this year, it will organize a “V4 plus Australia” meeting of foreign ministers in Budapest. “Canberra is very interested in further tightening cooperation with the Central European region,” he asserted.

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