“There is full agreement between Hungary and Lithuania regarding the fact that the external borders of the European Union must be protected, and there is also no debate concerning the fact that it would be best if the question of who is eligible to enter the EU were decided before entering the territory of the European Union”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a telephone statement to Hungarian news agency MTI following talks in Lithuania on Thursday.
In Vilnius, Mr. Szijjártó met with Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and Foreign Minister Linas Antanas Linkevicius, and later in the afternoon will be holding a lecture on Visegrád cooperation at Vilnius University’s Institute of International Relations and Political Science, following which he will also meet with Minister of Economy Mindaugas Sinkevicius.
“The two countries also agreed that people in trouble should be given assistance at or as close as possible to home to enable them to return home as early as possible”, Mr Szijjártó said.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister also spoke about the debate on the future of Europe. “Lithuania and Hungary are also in full agreement with regard to the fact that the rights of EU citizens living and working in the United Kingdom must be guaranteed following Great Britain’s exit of the European Union”, he said.
“We would like to see an agreement between the EU and the British that guarantees and protects the rights of the EU citizens working there”, the Minister stressed.
On the subject of bilateral relations, Mr. Szijjártó recalled that Hungary had made its solidarity clear on several occasions, and as it has already done in 2015, Hungary will again be involved in protecting Lithuanian airspace for four months in 2019, while this year the four countries of the Visegrád Group will each be stationing 200 troops in the Baltic States in three-month shifts.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade felt it was important to highlight the fact that last year Hungary and Lithuania achieved their highest ever annual trade of 335 million euros, in addition to which several important projects are being realised with the involvement of Hungary’s Eximbank, primarily within the fields of the transport industry and food industry.
Energy policy was also a topic of conversation at the Foreign Minister’s various meetings, and it was determined that both countries believe in the diversification of energy resources and supply routes, and think that the determination of the so-called energy mix, meaning what resources individual countries would like to utilise to cover their energy requirements, should remain within a national sphere of competence.
With relation to EU sanctions against Russia, Mr. Szijjártó made is clear that Hungary would like Brussels to honestly and openly face the fact that the sanctions have proven to be a failure from both a political and economic perspective, and accordingly Budapest would like the future of the sanctions to be debated at both national and prime ministerial level. The Minister told MTI that although Lithuania does not agree with this assessment of the situation, both countries are in absolute agreement concerning the fact that the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine must be guaranteed.
“This is also in Hungary’s interests, as we are talking about a neighbouring country which is also inhabited by 150 thousand Hungarians”, Mr. Szijjártó underlined.
(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)