At their meeting held on Friday in Budapest both Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó and British State Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond urged that all parties should fully respect the Minsk agreement. 

The Hungarian Minister conducted negotiations with Philip Hammond who arrived in Budapest for a two-day visit on Thursday. At the joint press conference Péter Szijjártó underlined that issues such as improving the EU’s competitiveness, energy security, immigration issues, the Ukrainian crisis and the fight against the Islamic State had been raised.

Both ministers agreed that peaceful resolution is the only acceptable solution as regards the Ukrainian situation, and they called upon all the parties to respect the Minsk agreement.

Péter Szijjártó declared that Hungary will continue to adhere to all joint European decisions in this matter as it has always done.

Philip Hammond pointed out that the separatists in Minsk had already breached the agreement. He was of the opinion that the intensity of the open conflict has de-escalated, but it is very difficult to foresee what the separatists will do next, which is why all possible scenarios have to be taken into account.

In the British diplomat’s opinion Russia asserts its own interests with increasing force. The EU sanctions are efficient, but Russia is trying to divide the European countries, he said. He emphasised that the European countries will keep up the sanctions until the parties do not comply with their obligations set out in the Minsk agreement. He noted that the Ukrainian battle groups should not be let to fall apart, but for the moment no weapons will be supplied to Ukraine.

Péter Szijjártó underlined that both Hungary and Great Britain made particular efforts to improve the competitiveness of the EU, and both countries recorded significant economic growth and good employment rates. According to Hungary, to maintain its competiveness in the long run, the EU should be open to strategic cooperation with countries and regions outside of Europe.

With reference to the free trade agreement to be concluded with the United States, the Minister said that the government will recommend the ratification of the agreement to the Parliament if the negotiations end with a favourable outcome for Hungary.

Philip Hammond considers the free trade agreement to be an excellent opportunity from the point of view of the future of the EU. As for the competitiveness of the EU, he said that Europe cannot become isolated within the world economy, the challenge posed by the emerging economies should be tackled by the EU, increasing the efficiency of its economy while preserving the European citizens’ standard of living at the same time.

The Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade also spoke about the fight against the Islamic State. He advocated for putting an end to killings and the persecution of Christians and other communities; for this reason the Hungarian government calls upon the parliamentary parties to consider the increase of Hungary’s contribution to the efforts of the international community against the Islamic State.

Philip Hammond also put an emphasis on the importance of the fight against Islamic extremists and the Islamic State, and expressed his hope that Hungary would provide military support to stop the activities of the organisation.

The British State Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs also mentioned that they are committed to establishing an open governmental cooperation and partnership with Hungary. Furthermore, the two politicians also discussed how to further increase confidence in the business environment.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)