“Great Britain is one of Hungary’s most important allies”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Friday in Budapest following talks with his British counterpart.

At a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted: “In Hungary’s opinion, Britain’s exit from the European Union is extremely unfortunate from the EU’s perspective, we severely regret the decision of the British, but only they have the right to decide on the future of their country”. “Although Hungary has always lamented it, we have always respected the decision of the British people”, he pointed out.

“The situation is a failure for the European Commission, because the British Government made it clear what it would require to remain a member of the European Union, but the EC did not hear what the British had to say”, the Minister added.

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In the Hungarian Foreign Minister’s opinion Brexit is a major economic loss for the EU and also a major political loss, because we could always count on the UK in debates on the future of Europe in support of the position according to which a strong EU can only be built on strong member states. “We could always count on Britain’s support in stressing the importance of sovereignty”, he added.

“The EU and Great Britain must come to a fair agreement after the Brexit negotiations are over”, he said. “In Hungary’s opinion, we need the most thorough and wide-ranging free trade agreement possible, our major internal security cooperation must remain in place in view of the serious threat of terrorism in Europe, in addition to which close cooperation on defence and security policy must also be maintained”, the Minister explained. “The Hungarian Government regards protecting the rights of Hungarians living in the United Kingdom as a priority”, Mr. Szijjártó noted.

“The United Kingdom is Hungary’s 11th most important trade partner, with bilateral trade flow exceeding 5 billion euros last year and over 800 British companies providing jobs to some 50 thousand people in Hungary”, he pointed out. Mr. Szijjártó told the press that at the meeting he had briefed the British Foreign Secretary on Hungary’s proposals for the UN migration package.

“The safety of the Hungarian people is our most important criteria during the course of debates on migration policy and the UN migration package”, he declared, adding that “In Hungary’s opinion, the UN proposal is biased in favour of immigration to an extreme extent, and this is what we are trying to change, because we would like an anti-migration package to be adopted”.

“At the focus of the proposals submitted to the United Nations on Thursday is the fact that it is the right and duty of every country to protects its borders, and this is something towards which the international community must provide its support”, he explained. “In addition, sovereignty must be respected, and every country must have the right to decide for itself, who it allows onto its territory”, he continued. “Furthermore, it is also important to note that according to Hungary’s position migration is a dangerous global process and instead of encouraging it international efforts must be aimed at stopping it”, he explained.

“We will not allow anybody to ignore the country’s sovereignty and the security of Hungarian citizens”, Mr Szijjártó declared.

Also in reply to a question, Mr. Szijjártó explained that Hungary is asking the United Kingdom to protect the rights of all Hungarians living there, but hopefully increasing wages and the arrival of major brands in Hungary will begin a process: more and more Hungarians will decide that they don’t need to move away in search of better jobs. “This is why major investment projects are a good thing”, he added.

In reply to a further question, the Hungarian Foreign Minister also spoke about the fact that Hungary is striving to maintain pragmatic and rational cooperation with Russia based on Hungarian interests and common sense, and that many Western European countries are maintain much closer cooperation with Russia than Hungary does.

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British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson declared: “Although Great Britain is leaving the European Union, it is not abandoning Europe and Hungary”. “Great Britain also remains committed to guaranteeing the security of Central Europe”, he said.

Mr. Johnson said bilateral relations are extremely close, and the two countries share a common opinion on many issues.

“According to Great Britain, the situation of migrants must be handled in the first country in which they arrive; refugees and illegal immigrants must be differentiated, in addition to which the issue of migration must be left within a national sphere of competence”, he explained.

“It is important to protect the rights of Hungarians living and working in Great Britain because they contribute significantly to the country’s performance”, Mr. Johnson said, noting: “But naturally the protection of these rights must be based on mutuality, meaning it is also important with relation to British citizens living in European countries”.

In reply to a question on relations with Russia, the British Foreign Secretary said: “Russia has taken unacceptable steps, for instance with relation to the Crimea, but despite this maintaining cooperation remains important”.