“The Hungarian government rejects all general criticism with relation to the state of the rule of law, but is always prepared to provide responses to our partners with relation to concrete issues”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared on Thursday in the Hague following a meeting with his Dutch counterpart Stef Blok.

At his short press conference, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade underlined that Hungary bases its foreign policy on mutual respect and shows respect to others, and expects the same in return. He said the tone in which certain Dutch politicians, including the Prime Minister, talk about Hungary is unacceptable, adding that not agreeing does not provide a mandate to criticise the state of Hungarian democracy.

As he explained, the Hungarian administration is always prepared to respond to criticism of concrete issues, but the best response is the result of last year’s elections, at which the governing parties received a record level of support from a record level of voter participation.

In the morning, the Minister inaugurated the refurbished Hungarian Embassy in The Hague, and pointed out that Hungary has an interest in constructive and mutually advantageous cooperation with Holland, adding that this year the two countries are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. “We have great respect for Holland and for the Dutch people, and although we have disputes and see the world differently with relation to certain issues, this cannot be a hindrance to cooperation with relation to many important issues”, he declared.

Mr. Szijjártó cited, amongst others, strong defence cooperation within the framework of NATO, the joint standpoint with relation to energy security, and the fact that Holland provides consular services to Hungarian nationals in eight locations around the world, with Hungary reciprocating these services at three locations.

The Minister also told the press that the Netherlands is Hungary’s seventh most important trade partner, with Dutch companies realising the eight highest level of investment in Hungary while creating a total of some 15 thousand workplaces.

In closing, the Hungarian Foreign Minister welcomed the fact that the Hague government has shown itself to be open to cooperation with relation to supporting Christian communities in the Middle East.

Previously, Dutch Parliament had wanted to send an investigative committee to Hungary, but in the event the visit did not take place in view of the fact that the government indicated it would not be receiving them. In reply to a question from reporters concerning the affair, Mr. Szijjártó said “Hungary is not a colony and it is not acceptable to send rapporteurs of this kind to another sovereign country, but we would have absolutely no objection to a mutual visit that takes place within the traditional framework”.

During the course of the day, Mr. Szijjártó met with Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fernando Arias, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) High Commissioner on National Minorities Lamberto Zanier, and Apostolic nuncio Aldo Cavalli, and later in the day will be holding a lecture at Leiden University.