Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó once again called for a “fair agreement” in Brexit negotiations that will enforce both European and British interests, after meeting David Davis, the United Kingdomʼs Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, for talks in Budapest on Thursday, according to reports.
“We respect the decision of the British people on Brexit, but we regret that this is a loss for Europe,” Szijjártó said, quoted by the official Hungarian government website kormany.hu.
According to the Hungarian minister, a free trade agreement that is “as comprehensive as possible” should be negotiated between the European Union and the United Kingdom, while the minister also urged the U.K. to stay within Europeʼs security and defense systems, Hungarian wire service MTI reported.
Szijjártó noted that he believes a relevant agreement should ensure “a balance of rights and obligations after Brexit,” as far as the U.K.’s contributions to the mutual EU budget are concerned.
Szijjártó underlined that no “concessions” can be made in relation to the rights of Hungarians working in Great Britain, as these should remain protected.
According to kormany.hu, official British statistics show there are 55,000 Hungarians working and studying in the U.K., although it notes that some estimates go as high as 200,000.
Kormany.hu cited Szijjártó as saying that Great Britain is Hungary’s 11th most important trade partner, and also the seventh largest investor in the country, with some 800 British companies currently operating here providing jobs for some 51,000 people, adding that “it is no exaggeration to state that the Central and Eastern European region could lose the most as a result of Brexit.”