Central Europe needs common denominator on Ukraine, says govt official
Brussels, April 16 (MTI) – The Central European nations should find a common denominator in their approach to Ukraine which should not necessarily mean that they hold identical positions on the Ukrainian crisis or on ties with Russia, Zsolt Nemeth, head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said in Brussels late on Wednesday.
Addressing a roundtable in the Hungarian House of Brussels, Nemeth said the Russian-Ukrainian war had once again put the region into the limelight, and called the crisis a “very serious challenge to central Europe”.
Nemeth, of the ruling Fidesz party, said that central European integration would offer the only solution for Ukraine to exit the crisis.
Hungary should explain to dissenting countries in the region that in given cases cooperation with Russia may help them prevent Russian attempts to increase influence.
While cooperating with Russia, central European nations should clearly “draw the red lines” against Russian penetration and aggression, and take a stand for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.
The discussion focussed on the US policy towards Europe and Hungarian-US relations, which Nemeth compared to a “marriage in crisis”. He added, however, that Hungarian-US ties appeared to be improving over the past month or two.
“It is not America that limits Hungary’s foreign policy and sovereignty but the tension that burdens that relationship,” he said.
Nemeth said a “sharp divide” can be drawn between the disputes of the 2010-2014 period and the current ones. While the former focussed on rule-of-law issues, the latter are centred on Hungary’s foreign policy orientation and “mostly based on misunderstandings”, he said.
Hungary started to clarify misunderstandings at the NATO summit last September when it pledged to double its defence spending in a few years’ time. Later on, it took part in controlling the air space of the Baltic states, Nemeth said.
From this point of view, it was “a very important and perfectly timed” decision that Hungary will join the military coalition against the Islamic State terrorist organisation, he added.