Hungary and the United Kingdom have laid the foundations of cooperation based on mutual respect following the UK’s exit from the European Union, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in London on Tuesday.
Europe is in a critical period, facing serious challenges, the foreign ministry cited Szijjártó as saying at the inauguration of the Hungarian consulate’s new building.
“We receive a lot of bad news and face many challenges each day,” Szijjártó said. “This situation makes friendships, predictable relationships and stable partnerships like that of the United Kingdom and Hungary all the more valuable.”
Szijjártó said that “in the spirit of mutual respect”, Hungary “was perhaps the only EU member state” that had not commented on or labelled the outcome of the Brexit referendum. “We didn’t compete with others in saying how bad a decision the British people had made,” he said. “We simply left it to the British people to decide on their own future.”
Turning to economic relations, Szijjártó said
British businesses made up the sixth-largest investor community in Hungary, with more than 800 companies employing some 55,000 people.
Many of them proved their loyalty during the pandemic by deciding to invest in their local bases rather than cut production, he added.
Bilateral trade turnover came to nearly 5 billion euros last year, “which it will likely reach this year”, Szijjártó said.
Hungary and the UK will also continue their cooperation in the area of nuclear energy with a view to ensuring that nuclear power is not discriminated against and determining the national energy mix remains a national competence, he said.
“The countries that can produce at least a large amount of the energy they consume are the ones that are truly secure,” Szijjártó said.
He said some 180,000-200,000 Hungarians live in the UK, adding that the Hungarian consulate had handled 23,000-27,000 cases in the last few years, which is three times as many as ten years ago.
Szijjártó also praised the organisation of the Hungarian general elections in London, noting that most of the Hungarian votes cast at foreign missions had been cast in the UK capital.
As we wrote earlier, Hungary’s Brexit adjustment reserve supports 63 companies with EUR 61.7m.