Government Transparency and Accountability

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Speaks on Recent EU Summit, Russian Relations

Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, shared insights on a variety of pressing international topics during a panel discussion hosted at the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School in Boston. Mr. Szijjártó covered issues ranging from Hungary’s policy on Russia and energy to Sweden’s potential accession to NATO.

When discussing Hungary’s position on the Ukraine deal adopted at a recent EU summit, Mr. Szijjártó emphasized the importance of two key preconditions. Once these conditions were met, Hungary did not find it necessary to block the joint decision. However, he noted the frustration of being labeled as pro-Putin for raising such preconditions.

The Minister also expressed concern about the lack of meaningful dialogue on strategic issues, criticizing the unaddressed government concerns that have led to a deteriorating situation. He attributed this to the absence of a space for reasonable dialogue on strategic issues in recent years.

Speaking to Hungarian-Russian nuclear cooperation, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted the involvement of U.S. companies in projects such as the Paks nuclear power plant extension. He also took aim at the EU’s reluctance to support infrastructure expansion in southeastern Europe for diversification, stating that without physical infrastructure, diversification is merely a fairy tale.

Regarding Sweden’s potential accession to NATO, Mr. Szijjártó mentioned that the Hungarian government’s proposal is awaiting parliamentary consideration. He expressed hope for parliamentary approval by the end of February, despite delays in the process due to negative remarks about Hungary made by Swedish politicians.

In response to audience questions, the Minister expressed skepticism about Russian aggression against NATO allies, emphasizing NATO’s military superiority compared to Russia.

Mr. Szijjártó also condemned the war in Ukraine, noting the dual nature of expressed sentiments between Brussels or Washington and other international gatherings.

As Hungary’s Foreign Minister continues to navigate complicated policy issues, his openness and assertiveness appear to remain pillars of his approach to international relations.


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