Brussels, December 14 (MTI) – The European Union needs to pay increased focus on its neighbours because instability in partner countries could pose a significant hazard for Europe, foreign minister Peter Szijjarto told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of his EU counterparts in Brussels on Monday.

Protection of the external borders of the community is a shared cause, Szijjarto said, and urged a “much firmer” stance.

Concerning the Eastern Partnership programme, the minister said the EU should adopt a pro-active role to counterbalance the influence of Russia.

Hungary urges a pragmatic business cooperation with eastern partners, Szijjarto said, and argued that a dialogue based on mutual benefits with Russia and associated regional economic communities would be to the advantage of the European Union, too.

Concerning the sanctions against Russia, Szijjarto said that Hungary continues to observe the EU’s related decisions. It believes, however, that the sanctions failed to promote the implementation of the Minsk agreements and caused damage to Russia, Ukraine and the European Union, including Hungary. Hungarian companies, for instance, have lost 3 billion dollars since their introduction, he said.

Szijjarto expressed hope that the sanctions on Belarus, suspended by the foreign ministers, would be terminated next February.

He said that Georgia should be granted full visa liberation early next year in recognition of that country’s reform measures and accomplishments.

Szijjarto highly appreciated Macedonia’s efforts to protect the borders of Europe.

The minister stressed the need to step up financial support for Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and refugee camps in Iraq’s Kurdistan region to allow refugees fleeing from terror to stay close to their homeland.

The minister said that Hungary recognises Turkey’s efforts to stem the tide of refugees, and supports that preparations for that country’s EU accession and visa liberation should be accelerated.

Photo: MTI


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