The European Union allows no room for actual democratic debates based on mutual respect, Hungary’s foreign minister said on Tuesday, adding that the use of double standards was also a “major challenge” for the bloc.
Addressing a panel discussion at an economic forum in Karpacz, in southern Poland, Péter Szijjártó underscored the importance of engaging in honest debates about overcoming the challenges facing Europe. The minister lamented, however, that those whose opinions differ from the mainstream were often labelled “anti-Europe” and sidelined.
Hungary’s interests lie in a strong EU based on strong member states capable of preserving their heritage, national identity and culture,
and outright rejects the “extremist” federalist position that favours the establishment of a “united states of Europe”, Szijjártó said, adding that Hungary was also against transferring more powers to Brussels.
As regards the EU’s level of competitiveness, the minister said member states should be left to decide on their own taxation policies, underlining the importance of internal competition.
Blocking the EU’s enlargement, he said, also hurt its competitiveness,
especially after Brexit and the EU’s failure to conclude a framework agreement with Switzerland.
Szijjártó said the EU should immediately move to admit Serbia to the bloc, arguing that doing so would serve as a stabilising factor for the Western Balkan region. Meanwhile,
Szijjártó called the Visegrád cooperation the “soul of Hungarian foreign policy”,
emphasising that together Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia had achieved success on issues which they could not have tackled on their own.
Had the V4 not stood their ground, the EU would be resettling migrants according to mandatory quotas among its member states today, the minister said.
On another subject, Szijjártó said the volume of trade between Germany and the V4 exceeded German-French trade by 70 percent, adding that the grouping’s security policy had made it one of the world’s most competitive regions.