“In the interests of regaining its competitiveness, the European Union must speed up the conclusion of free trade agreements, but European economic interests and the sensitivities of member states must be taken into account”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said following a meeting of EU foreign trade ministers in Brussels.

The Minister told the press that Hungary is calling for free trade negotiations with both Australia and New Zealand to begin before the end of this year, but the agricultural sensitivities raised by Hungary must be taken into account to a major degree during the course of negotiations.


“Hungary is also calling for negotiations on the modernisation of the economic cooperation agreement concluded with Chile to begin this year", he added.

Mr. Szijjártó said that with relation to the free trade agreement planned between the EU and Ukraine, the European Commission is recommending that the European Union provide further trade concessions to Kiev in addition to those included in the agreement which has already been concluded, but has not yet come into force. The Minister stressed that the agreement is sensitive with relation to Hungarian agriculture, because the easing of trade conditions with regard to maize, wheat, barley and processed tomatoes poses a major danger to Hungarian farmers.

“Hungary was one of the first countries to ratify the free trade agreement between the European Union and Ukraine, but it cannot support further concessions”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade declared.