Poland and Hungary want a strong Europe that is able to protect its borders and the security of its citizens, Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister, said on Thursday after talks in Warsaw with Jacek Czaputowicz, his Polish counterpart.
At a joint press conference, Szijjártó said both countries want a strong Europe. “But it is also clear that a strong Europe must be based on strong member states and strong regions.”
“This is why central Europe, based on a strong Poland and Hungary, is in Europe’s interest,” he added.
Czaputowicz said the Visegrad Group of countries shared a similar European vision: a competitive, non-protectionist, democratic European Union whose legitimacy stemmed from national parliaments. He said Poland and Hungary had similar positions concerning topical EU issues such as the community’s 2021-2027 budget. The two countries will work to maintain the EU’s cohesion funding mechanism and the common agricultural policy, he said.
Asked if Hungary would veto the EU budget if payments were tied to the rule of law in the target country, Szijjártó said:
“The attempt by some to attach subjective criteria regarding the rule of law on top of the objective criteria applied so far is a novelty.”
He said it was an “attempt to create potential for political blackmail” and called it “very un-European”. He added that changing the mechanism of EU payments must be tied to a “clear legal procedure”.
“Our friends in the West make it appear as if those funds were some kind of humanitarian aid,” Szijjártó said, noting that those funds were due to members states under the EU treaties. When Hungary and Poland joined the EU they opened up their markets to western companies which then “gained huge profits”, he said, adding that “out of each euro received 70 cents go back to western European companies”.