Hungary’s foreign minister meets UK Brexit minister
Budapest, April 20 (MTI) – Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó met David Davis, the United Kingdom’s secretary of state for exiting the European Union, for talks in Budapest on Thursday.
At a press conference after the talks, Szijjártó called for a “fair” Brexit agreement, one which enforces both European and British interests.
The EU should negotiate “the broadest possible” free trade agreement with the UK, while the UK should stay a part of Europe’s security and defence systems, Szijjártó said. Concerning the UK’s contributions to the common European budget, he said that a relevant agreement should ensure “a balance of rights and obligations after Brexit”.
“We respect the British decision to quit, but we regret it; it is a great loss for Europe,” Szijjártó said. He added that Brexit could impact most central and eastern Europe, and insisted that without the UK’s payments to the European budget in 2019-2020, Hungary could lose up to 1.5 billion euros.
Szijjártó also urged that the rights of Hungarians working in Great Britain should be protected. “We cannot make concessions on that,” he said, but said that chances of an agreement were very good. He said that officially 55,000 Hungarians live or work in the UK, but some estimates put that number at 200,000. Hungarians working in the UK contribute an annual 6,300 euros each to the Hungarian budget, he added.
Davis arrived in Hungary at Szijjártó’s invitation, as part of a tour of the EU. His talks are aimed at “avoiding a Brexit without an agreement or one with a bad agreement”, Szijjarto said at his press conference.