Budapest, December 8 (MTI) – Hungary needs a new foreign policy to respond to new global challenges, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told parliament’s foreign affairs committee today.
This new policy is pragmatic, represents economic interests and focuses equally on transatlantic and eastern relations. It seeks to represent Hungarian national interests as well as promoting key geopolitical goals such as peace and energy security, he said.
Energy security is of utmost importance in central Europe and requires diversification, he said. The South Stream project had seemed best way of addressing this need, and it is “bad news for Hungary that the pipeline will not be built,” he added.
Szijjarto noted that nine-month trade figures were favourable, with exports overall growing by 7 percent and exports to EU countries by 9 percent.
Attila Mesterhazy, a lawmaker of the Socialist party, said the policy of opening to the East had failed: Hungarian-US relations are at a low point and Hungary has isolated itself in Europe.
Zsuzsanna Szelenyi, a lawmaker for the opposition Egyutt (Together) party who sits as an independent, noted that Hungary had not been officially briefed by Russia that it had called off the South Stream pipeline project.
Szijjarto conceded that Hungary, like other nations, had not known about President Vladimir Putin’s decision to abandon the plans but Putin and Prime Minister Viktor Orban had discussed this situation over the phone at the weekend. They also talked about stronger Russia-Turkey ties and a new impetus to Hungarian-Russian economic-trade relations.
A change in Hungary’s eastern policy is not needed; a strong network of relations to the East is a must, he said. He added that cooperation with the US was “flawless” with regard to economic relations, investments and security policy.
Photo: MTI – Noemi Bruzak
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