“During the next four years the goal, duty and task of Hungarian foreign policy is to protect Hungary’s sovereignty and security, and to maintain and continuously improve Hungary’s competitiveness”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday in Budapest.

In his speech at the opening of the National University of Public Service’s faculty day, the Minister highlighted: “This will not be an easy task, but we have succeeded in achieving significant results so far”. “Protecting sovereignty and security will remain an important goal in the upcoming period, and achieving this will continue to necessitate conflicts and both legal and political battles”, he stressed.

DownloadPhoto: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

According to Mr. Szijjártó, foreign policy was “upgraded” by having also been tasked with an economic function in addition to its political one; it was declared that it is the Ministry’s duty to recognise and enforce Hungarian economic interests.

At the event organised by the Faculty of International and European Studies, the Minister explained: “The EU has never had to face as many historic challenges as it does today, including migration, the threat of terrorism, the war in Ukraine, Brexit and the need to establish energy security”. “The fact that there are disputes is not a problem, but what is a problem is that if someone represents a position that differs from the mainstream they are immediately stigmatised as being un-European”, he said, adding: “Despite the fact that we agree on the goal; a strong Europe is also in Hungary’s interests”. “In Hungary’s opinion, a strong European Union requires strong member states”, he noted.

“Hungary’s position on the debate on migration is that migration is not a fundamental human right, but the fact that everyone should be able to live in peace and security in their own homeland is, and this is what should be guaranteed for everyone”. “In addition, in Hungary’s opinion one of the most important attributes of sovereignty is a country’s ability to protect its own borders”, he pointed out.

DownloadPhoto: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The Minister also spoke about the fact that in Hungary’s view every country has the right to determine what solutions it wishes to apply to its economic and demographic challenges, and it “does not accept the fact that pressure is being applied to Hungary to try and make it change its position on this issue”.

With relation to the next seven-year EU financial framework, the Hungarian Foreign Minister stressed: “The Central European member states are entitled to EU funding according to the treaties, because they are fulfilling their related obligations by having opened their markets, from which western member states have profited heavily”.

Mr. Szijjártó also said that supporting Ukraine’s aspirations for Euro-Atlantic integration has always been one of the main goals of Hungarian foreign policy, but last year the Ukrainian Parliament adopted an Education Act that prevents children of minorities from studying in their native language above the age of 12, in addition to which Ukraine plans to strip dual nationals of their Ukrainian citizenship. “This is despite the fact that with relation to NATO Ukraine has undertaken to respect minority rights, and accordingly Hungary is vetoing the convening of sessions of the ministerial-level NATO-Ukraine Council and of the NATO-Ukraine Summit”, he said.

DownloadPhoto: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

“Hungary would like to return to its policy of supporting Ukraine, but this is dependent solely on Ukraine”, he declared. “It is outrageous that Ukraine is attempting to spread the false image that Hungary’s policy is being determined by a third party, Russia, while Hungary is only concerned with the fate of the 150 thousand Transcarpathian Hungarians, and there is absolutely no Russian association with regard to its policy on Transcarpathia”, Mr. Szijjártó stressed.

With regard to foreign trade, the Minister said recent developments had fundamentally changed both the character and duties of foreign policy. “This is particularly true in the case of Hungary, which has an extremely open economy and is located in a geopolitically sensitive area”, he added.

In his opinion, Hungary had to recognise that in view of its size and military strength “nobody is likely to expect” a solution to major global challenges from us. “When in 2014 it was decided to combine the government functions of foreign trade and foreign policy, there was a huge uproar, but thanks to this decision all foreign trade records were broken every single year between 2014 and 2018”, he stated.

“The automotive industry plays a particularly important role in the global economy, and it also provides the backbone of the Hungarian economy. The current period is a vital one; it is now that we must assure that the flagship of the Hungarian economy, the automotive industry, will also want to involve Hungary in its innovative phase and realise the development and putting into commission of as many new technologies as possible here in Hungary”, Mr. Szijjártó explained.

In his welcome speech, Rector of the National University of Public Service András Patyi spoke about the fact that this is also a day of celebration with relation to the European Union, and we are celebrating the community of which we are a part. “9 May is also the symbolic date of the end of the Second World War in Europe; it is since 9 May 1945 that Europe has been ‘the continent of peace’, and no war of continental proportions has disrupted the decades since that time”, he said.

“An international and European commitment and interest has always been part of the activities of the University’s predecessors and of the National University of Public Service’s operations, and accordingly the decision to organise the areas of study that deal with this field into a separate faculty in 2014 was an obvious one”, he said.