“Everyone wants a strong and successful Europe, but has differing views on how this can be achieved”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said at a conference entitled “The Day of Hungarian Diplomacy”, organised by the National University of Public Service’s Faculty of International and European Studies in Budapest.

In his speech at the event, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted: “There are those who believe we need weakened member states and that Brussels should take over as many spheres of competence as possible, but Hungary rejects the idea of a United States of Europe and that member states should distance themselves from their national and cultural identities”.

“According to Hungary’s position, for Europe to be strong and competitive requires allowing competition within the EU; the security of the European people must be restored, Christian culture and identity must be preserved, an objective debate must be held on the multiannual European budget, European institutions must reflect on European reality, and Western Balkan enlargement must be accelerated”, the Foreign Minister explained.

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“Practically everything in international politics is new”, foreign policy has never been part of internal politics to such an extent, and a totally new world order is coming about because of changes in the global economy and world politics, he declared.

“This new world order also raises many questions with relation to the future of Europe, on top of which the EU is also facing several historic challenges”, Mr. Szijjártó pointed out.

Of these, the Foreign Minister mentioned the security challenges: “There is a war going on in the immediate vicinity of Hungary, there is a major threat of terrorism, and parallel societies have come about in many major Western European cities as a result of mass illegal immigration”.

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“The EU is losing an extremely important member state as a result of Brexit, Europe’s Christian identity has been called into question, nation states are being assessed differently, and many want to close all possible issues prior to the European Parliament elections”, he continued.

“It is important for there to be debates on the future of Europe, but these debates quickly become emotional, and anyone who represents a position that is at odds with the European mainstream is stigmatised as un-European. If we want to conduct these debates successfully, they must be based on common sense and mutual respect”, he declared.

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Rector of the National University of Public Service András Koltay spoke about the fact that European culture set out from three places: the Calvary, the Acropolis in Athens and the Capitolium in Rome. “There are, however, currently perceptible problems with all three: respect for and the influence of Christianity, as symbolised by the Calvary, democracy, as symbolised by the Acropolis, and law, as symbolised by the Capitolium, have all been undermined”, he stated. Mr. Koltay said that in his opinion none of these could fully handle the difficulties of 20th century Europe, but we nevertheless cannot turn to other values, since “we cannot be anything other than what we are”.

Dean of the Faculty of International and European Studies Boglárka Koller said the Day of Hungarian Diplomacy is a “freshly constructed event”, which is necessary because it is important to talk about diplomacy on a predetermined day. This day is held on 19 November, because it was on this day in 1335 that the Congress of Visegrád took place, she explained. This day provides an opportunity for both professional and scientific discussions, and the Faculty would like to contribute to this with today’s conference, she said.