Foreign minister addresses seasonal meeting of Hungarian diplomats – UPDATE
Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó met members of the Hungarian diplomatic corps for regular autumn consultations on Monday.
Addressing the heads of Hungary’s various embassies and consulate generals, the Minister spoke about the fact that the security policy challenge in Europe will increase, and the issue of immigration will remain a sharp line of separation between member states.
“A few years ago it was inconceivable that the most peaceful part of the world, Western Europe, would experience the highest threat of terrorism, and the images of the Middle East we have often seen on the news will happen in our immediate environment”, he said.
“In many cases the world has changed in the direction that we Hungarians indicated in advance, often against the mainstream”, said Mr. Szijjártó, adding that it is important for there to be a common guideline to which we can adhere to in the midst of rapid changes. “This guideline continues to be Hungary’s interests”, he declared.
The Minister said one of the lessons of recent years was that those who “give in” in these difficult times that are racked with changes, are “mowed down”.
“Firstly, they are forced do things that they do not want to do, and secondly they are regarded as a punching bag”, the Minister explained, highlighting that as has been the case so far, Hungary would not like to have to endure either.
According to Mr. Szijjártó, we must also prepare for the possibility that the existing disputes will persist and in fact increase in the upcoming period, because the factors that are causing them are not moving towards a solution.
“The solutions to illegal immigration are clearly not converging, although communication elements similar to the Hungarian standpoint can now also be observed in the West”, he said.
Mr. Szijjártó listed amongst these the fact that illegal immigrants must be distinguished from refugees, European defence begins with border protection, and the fact that the decision on who can enter Europe must be made outside Europe. “Far from glorious adjectives were flung at us” previously for such statements, he noted.
The Minister also drew attention to the fact that there will soon be elections in several European countries. “The attempts to involve Hungary in the campaigns are clearly visible, and accordingly we must keep our wits about us; the statements must be handled according to their true significance, and we must always defend Hungary”, he declared, adding that “We must not allow the country to be unfairly and undeservedly criticised in an often disgraceful manner for domestic policy reasons”.
Mr. Szijjártó also said that major dogmas were being toppled. “Western Europe is no longer the safest part of the world, in addition to which many social integration models have proven to be complete failures”, he said, citing as an example of the latter the fact that a significant number of the terrorist attacks Europe has suffered were perpetrated by people whose ancestors were born outside Europe, but who themselves were already born in Europe.
“The integration of immigrant families and communities has in many cases been unsuccessful, and parallel societies have come about in several places in the Western half of Europe”, he added.
Mr. Szijjártó asked those present to not allow themselves to be swayed from the standpoint according to which the security situation in Europe can in fact be improved and restored. “This requires us to follow a different European politics; EU leaders should meet to find a solution to these issues, and not to ‘pick on’ certain member states”, he said.
The Minister also spoke about challenges within the global economy, highlighting the fact that we must expect ever-increasing competition. “The countries that are capable of linking production and digitalisation as quickly as possible will be successful”, he said, indicating that Hungary is in a good starting position, but this is something that requires daily effort. “All foreign trade records were broken last year; never before have exports been so high, never before has so much foreign investment arrived in Hungary, and never before has the foreign trade balance been so positive”, Mr. Szijjártó listed.
Negotiations were often initiated based on indications from foreign representations, and accordingly the Minister asked diplomats to remain vigilant, pointing out that “this could result in hundreds and thousands of new jobs in Hungary”.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was a realistic target for the foreign economy to break the historical record at the end of the year, which he justified with the fact that according to figures for the first five months of the year exports increased by 11 percent year-on-year, and could reach 100 billion euros by the end of this year. Last year’s 93 billion was “already an attack on the summit”, he said.
Mr. Szijjártó also spoke about investment, explaining that 47 major new investments in Hungary had already been agreed during the first six months of the year, compared to 71 during the whole of last year. Negotiations are underway with several global companies as well as with many medium-sized ones, and accordingly the Minister said the expectation towards Hungarian diplomats was that if an investors targets Central Europe, then they should if possible end up investing in Hungary.
Mr. Szijjártó thanked those diplomats who have undertaken duties with relation to Hungary’s current presidency of the Visegrád Group (V4), and drew attention to the fact that during the upcoming few months attempts to destabilise the unity of the V4 should again be expected. “The Visegrád Group is the closest and most effective alliance in Europe, and we expect this to remain the case in future”, he said.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade also reported on the fact that 20 new diplomatic missions have opened since the last elections, in addition to which several non-independent representations have opened in cities with large Hungarian communities, or which are popular travel destinations for Hungarians, such as Manchester and Edinburgh. He also confirmed that the number of active consuls will be increased by 80 as a results of changes in the European security situation.
Source: Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI