“If there is a country that needs a strong Europe, it is definitely Hungary”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Monday in Bonn.

The politician held a lecture at the University of Bonn and explained: “Hungary is at the centre of Europe, it has an open economy, and it knows that whenever there has been conflict between West and East it has always come out a loser”.

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“Accordingly, Hungary wants a strong Europe, but in view of the fact that the continent is facing historic challenges, it is natural for there to be a debate on its future, and about how a strong Europe can be achieved”, he pointed out. “It is not good that those who resist the mainstream in this debate are immediately branded as being un-European”, he stated.

The Foreign Minister said that in his opinion there are those who would like weak member states in the spirit of the concept of a United States of Europe, but it is difficult to accomplish a strong integration with weak countries. “According to Hungary’s position, strong member states are needed”, he said.

Mr. Szijjártó cited migration as one of the challenges facing Europe, explaining that migration has led to an increased threat of terrorism in Europe, because if hundreds and thousands of people are allowed into the continent without any kind of control, there may be terrorists who make use of this opportunity. “For this reason, migration is  a security issue”, he added.
He said that in his opinion every country must be given the opportunity to provide its own solutions to demographic challenges, and that solution is not necessarily migration.

Border protection is also a question of sovereignty, and the Schengen Agreement also prescribes that countries are bound to defend the external border of the European Union, he noted.

Mr. Szijjártó also spoke about the fact that Europe must find its way back to its Christian roots, and that it is unacceptable that there are places in Western Europe that want to remove Christian symbols.

“A fair debate is required on the multi-annual financial framework. EU funding does not depend on the generosity of Western European countries; we have a right to these resources”, he stated.

DownloadPhoto: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

According to Mr. Szijjártó, it is important for people to be able to express their opinions on important European issues prior to next year’s European Parliament elections.

He said it was also important to place major emphasis on further EU enlargement.

“The larger the EU, the stronger it is”, he declared, adding that Hungary knows what it is like when there is stability in the Western Balkans, and it also knows what it’s like when there isn’t.

In reply to a question from a student, the Foreign Minister recalled that a few years ago thousands of people crossed the border illegally, and it is unclear what could have given them the right to do so.

“They refused all cooperation with the authorities and occupied public spaces”, he recalled.

He also said that Hungary is not judging any country for building a multicultural society, but other countries should also refrain from judging Hungary for following a different path.

“It is a question of sovereignty that we should be the ones to decide who we want to live with”, the Minister said.

At the end of Mr. Szijjártó’s speech, several students chanted that they would be glad to welcome the migrants.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)