The European Union can only be built on the foundation of strong nation-states, the Hungarian foreign minister said in Stockholm on Tuesday.
“The European Union’s report card hasn’t been the best in recent years,” Péter Szijjártó told a press conference following a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Visegrád Group (V4) and the Nordic Baltic Eight (NB8).
He noted that V4 and NB8 foreign ministers were meeting at a time when the EU was about to lose one of its member states for the first time. Transatlantic relations “are also languishing, although they are unbreakable”, Szijjártó said.
In addition to all this, he said, the EU is facing “serious challenges” while it is quickly losing competitiveness.
The V4 offer Europe “common sense policies” that promote low taxes coupled with a disciplined fiscal policy, Szijjártó said. But, he added, the most important task before the bloc was guaranteeing the safety of its citizens.
Szijjártó underscored the V4’s beliefs in free trade, adding that they also support the EU’s enlargement, especially towards the Western Balkans.
Referring to next year’s European Parliamentary elections, the minister said the “most important decision” on the future of Europe would have to be made by the European people.
Meanwhile, asked whether the Hungarian parliament would vote on the government’s “Stop Soros” bill on Wednesday without waiting for the opinion of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission due out on Friday, Szijjártó said: “Yes, there will be a voting session tomorrow, and our parliamentary group will vote in favour of the proposal.”
The Venice Commission has asked Hungary not to pass the bill before it releases its opinion on it, or to at least consider the recommendations it has made in its draft opinion.
Featured image: MTI