Canberra, February 15 (MTI) – The migration policies of Australia and Hungary are identical, and Hungary, a member of the UN Human Rights Council since the autumn, firmly supports Australia’s bid to join the body, Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister, said on Wednesday.

Speaking after talks in Canberra, Szijjártó told MTI by phone that “Australia also maintains its right to decide whom to allow into its own territory … and their position is that it should be decided beyond their borders who can enter and receive asylum.”

“We agree that help should be given at the point where it is needed rather than bringing trouble over to where there isn’t any,” he said. “Australians, involved as they are in war-stricken Iraq and Syria, also have an interest in ensuring that more refugees do not depart from where they are,” he said.

Hungarian foreign minister with his Australian counterpart

Szijjártó cited the fact that Australia has recently strengthened its counter-terrorism law and introduced detention against those seeking asylum as examples of similarities in the countries’ policies.

Speaking about economic and diplomatic ties between the countries, Szijjártó noted that the huge distance notwithstanding, bilateral trade approached 500 million US dollars, with Hungarian exports accounting for 440 million.

With a view to improving the presence of Hungarian companies on the Australian market, Budapest is committed to an agreement in the pipeline between the European Union and Australia on free trade. Hungary wants to embolden the EU to make use of the historic opportunity to create new partnerships in the wake of the recently ditched multilateral free-trade pact between the US and Pacific partners, he said.

Foreign Minister Szijjártó and Minister for Trade and Investment Steven Ciobo

The government is also encouraging Hungarian companies to invest in Australia with a 742 million dollar credit line, and both countries support young people working for a limited duration in each other’s country as part of the “working holiday” scheme, he said.

Hungary pledged to organise a foreign ministers’ meeting in Budapest when it starts chairing the Visegrad Four, an alliance of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. The summit will be called “V4+Australia”. Australia is very interested in strengthening ties with the region, the minister said.

Hungary is to open a new consulate in Sydney, in addition to the Canberra embassy and Melbourne consulate, Szijjártó said.

Source: MTI

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