Hungary and the European Union’s interests would best be served by the conclusion of an agreement between the EU and Britain at the end of their divorce talks, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in London on Monday.
Szijjártó attended a forum introducing stock exchange heads from the Visegrád Group countries of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia held at the London Stock Exchange. He is also scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson.
Hungary believes it is especially important to maintain security cooperation with Britain, considering that the EU is facing serious security challenges and Britain’s intelligence-defence capacities should not be disregarded in this respect, Szijjártó told MTI.
“Europe cannot afford to not utilise these capacities,” he added.
Britain directly participates in 12 of the 15 foreign EU missions carried out under the auspices of the common security and defence policy and if London withdraws from these, the missions will either discontinue or their capacities will drop drastically, he said.
The British are present in a number of international missions that are important for Hungary, including in the Western Balkans, he added.
British and Hungarian soldiers participated in several exercises jointly in the past and Hungary would like to continue this cooperation, Szijjártó said.
It is also in Hungary’s interest that a thorough and comprehensive free trade agreement is signed between the EU and Britain as a result of the Brexit talks. Hungary’s position is that a fair Brexit will result in economic cooperation that regulates bilateral trade in line with a free trade agreement and not according to the general rules of WTO.
Hungary’s government believes that a fair Brexit will also involve the protection of the rights of Hungarian citizens living, working and studying in Britain, he said.