The British government will guarantee the rights of Hungarians living in the United Kingdom even if the country fails to secure a deal with the European Union on its exit from the bloc, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said after talks with government officials in London on Thursday.

Gulyás held talks with British Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Martin Callanan, the government’s Brexit minister, among other cabinet members.

Speaking to MTI after his talks, Gulyás said Javid had reassured him that London will guarantee Hungarians in Britain the right to work and live in the country even in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

On the principle of reciprocity,

the Hungarian government is ready to guarantee the same rights for Britons living in Hungary, Gulyás said.

Hungary supports the signing of a Brexit deal between the British government and the European Commission, he said, adding that the EU should also have a backup plan in case the deal falls through.

Gulyás said he and Javid were in agreement that Europe’s inability to protect its borders from illegal migration had contributed significantly to UK voters deciding to leave the bloc.

Gulyás’s talks with Lord Callanan focused on the UK’s Brexit talks with the EC. Callanan said the Brexit ministry hopes to reach a deal with the executive body on the conditions of Brexit, adding that some disagreements still remained. Among the toughest issues, he said, was the question of the control of the Irish border.

Gulyás said everyone he had spoken with all stressed that Britain’s departure from the EU did not mean that it was abandoning Europe. In line with this approach,

Britain will continue to strive for good long-term relations with the Visegrad Group countries, including Hungary, he added.

This is a mutual interest of the two countries, he said, adding that Hungary and the United Kingdom should still strive for closer cooperation in higher education, the economy, culture and other areas.

Asked how members of the British government saw the chances of reaching a Brexit deal with the EU, Gulyás said members of the Conservative Party believed it was more likely than not that a deal would be reached.

But since there are still some disagreements between the two sides, the government is also prepared for a no-deal scenario, he added. The goal, however, is for the UK to exit the EU in an orderly way, Gulyás said. The Hungarian government is also in favour of a fair Brexit deal, he said. However, if this is not the outcome, Hungary is ready to boost ties with Britain on a bilateral basis, he added.

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