A no-deal Brexit would seriously hurt the European Union’s remaining member states given that the United Kingdom is the bloc’s second and the world’s fifth largest economy, Hungary’s foreign minister told BBC News on Thursday.
It is obvious to Hungary that the UK must reach a deal with the EU on the terms of its exit from the bloc, Péter Szijjártó said in Brussels.
Failure to reach a Brexit deal would also be “very bad news” in terms of security cooperation between the EU and the UK and the current security challenges facing the bloc, he said.
This was why, he said, it was crucial for the two sides to do everything they can to make sure that the Brexit talks result in a deal.
Hungary wants a fair Brexit deal that is mutually beneficial to the UK and the EU, Szijjártó said. Hungary’s interest also lies in the talks concluding with the deepest, most comprehensive and broadest possible free trade agreement, the minister added.
If such a trade deal falls through, EU trade in the UK will continue with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, he said.
Asked about Hungary’s economic ties with Russia, Szijjártó said
western Europe was being “hypocritical” about Hungary’s relationship with Russia.
He argued that on the surface, western Europeans criticise Russia while “beneath the surface” they enter into significant business agreements with that country, mainly in the energy sector.
Szijjártó added that it was not central European but major western European energy companies that were heavily involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. He noted that the “guest star” of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum was French President Emmanuel Macron and that the Russian Energy Week conference in Moscow earlier this month had been attended by the leaders of major energy companies such as Total, Enel and Shell.
Meanwhile, Hungary over the past several years has lost about 7 billion dollars worth of export opportunities due to the sanctions against Russia, Szijjártó said.