It is in Hungary’s fundamental interests to further develop ties with Great Britain after Brexit, “not only at governmental level but in the area of party politics, too”, Hungary’s minister for family affairs said in London late on Monday.
Katalin Novák spoke after talks with Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons, and told Hungarian public media that the government sought opportunities for cooperation with Britain’s Conservatives and Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party. She said the two parties’ similar views on family policy offered such opportunities.
Novák said Rees-Mogg was “a conservative politician who believes in traditional families and the importance of providing them protection, and he regrets that the number of abortions in the UK is climbing.” Rees-Mogg was interested to hear how
Hungary had reduced abortions by 41 percent in the past decade,
and he welcomed the doubling in the number of marriages in Hungary as well as the birth rate increasing by 27 percent, Novak said, adding that these trends were “just the opposite” in Britain.
She said Rees-Mogg had spoken highly of Hungary’s decision to exempt mothers with four or more children from paying personal income tax, and cited him as saying that Britain would also need a policy to promote births by way of taxation.
Concerning Brexit, Novák said that
the European Union’s institutions “have failed to draw inevitable consequences” and would make “the same mistakes again”
by “dragging Poland or Hungary around with no regard to national characteristics”.
Just as Britons refused to give up their national identity or traditions, neither would Hungarians or Poles, Novak said. “It’s important that the EU and its institutions should be partners in endeavours to preserve our sovereignty,” she added.
Novák said negotiations between the British and Hungarian governments were ongoing to ensure that Hungarian ventures and students in Britain suffer the least because of Brexit. She said the costs borne by students had grown and Hungarian business people and students no longer had “the same rights” as before Britain quit the EU.
Novák said she had met Hungarian students in Britain to find out how the Hungarian government could help them. If European youth could no longer study at British universities and gain competitive skills, “after a time Europe’s global competitiveness would suffer”, she said.