Photo: PMO

Orbán: Close cooperation with Brazil in Hungary’s interest

Hungary has a vested interest in close cooperation with Brazil, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said after talks with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday, adding that the two countries applied the same approach to global challenges, which offered a stable foundation for their partnership.

Hungary and Brazil share similar positions on the issues of migration, aiding persecuted Christians, defending against attacks on families, their commitment to free trade, and military development, Orbán told a joint press briefing with Bolsonaro.

Orbán said major international organisations were looking to adopt documents depicting migration as a positive phenomenon. “There are countries — we call them the coalition of the sober — that don’t want the world to change as a result of migration,” he added.

He noted Hungary and Brazil were the two countries to prevent passage of the United Nations’ global migration compact, adding that the European Union was now debating a similar pact. “We will thwart the implementation of any recommended or mandatory regulations on migration in the same way at the European level,” he said.

The prime minister said Hungary and Brazil had agreed to set up a joint “early warning system” to alert one another should any migration-related recommendations which go against their interests be drafted. The warning system will allow the two countries to cooperate on preventing the adoption of such documents, Orbán said.

Hungary and Brazil consider it “absurd” that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world today “and that the civilisation born out of Christian roots, primarily European civilisation, does very little” to protect those being persecuted for their faith, Orbán said. He added that Hungary and Brazil had signed an agreement to jointly help persecuted Christian communities in Africa.

Meanwhile, Orbán said the two countries also saw eye to eye on “the attacks against families which want to force a concept of family onto the world that varies with what we believe a family is”. Hungary’s constitution makes it clear that the father is a man and the mother a woman, he said, adding that a family consists of a man and a woman “and we will do everything we can to prevent the relativisation of this approach”.

Turning to trade relations, Orbán said free trade was vital for Hungary, as exports accounted for 80-90 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. In other words, “Hungarians would be significantly worse off without the existence of free trade in the world”, he said. Orbán said he and Bolsonaro had agreed that Brazil was open to welcoming Hungarian investments.

As regards military cooperation, the prime minister noted that Brazil is a contributor to Hungary’s military development scheme, noting that Hungary has already purchased two military transport aircraft from Brazil. The two countries have also agreed to expand military industrial cooperation, he added.

Orbán noted there are 504 Brazilian university students studying in Hungary, 250 of whom are studying on scholarships provided by the Hungarian state.

On another subject, Orbán noted that Bolsonaro arrived in Hungary after a visit to Moscow. Given that diplomacy and everyday life today “are overshadowed by the possibility of war”, all diplomatic efforts aimed at avoiding war “are extremely valuable to the entire world, but especially Hungary, since we are in close proximity to this conflict”, he said.

Orbán noted that Brazil was one of the European Union’s nine strategic partner countries and a partner of NATO. He thanked Bolsonaro for his efforts in recent days “to uphold peace in this part of Europe”.

He called the Brazilian president’s visit a historic event and a “special honour”, adding that prior to the talks, Hungary had expressed its sympathies to the Brazilian people over the recent natural disaster there.

Bolsonaro said his visit offered a good opportunity for the two countries to deepen their relations, including economic ties.

Bolsonaro called Hungary Brazil’s “little big brother”, referring to territorial differences on the one hand, and Orbán’s achievements in representing their shared priorities, including respect for God, homeland, family and freedom, on the other.

Bolsonaro said his “useful” talks in Budapest also covered the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. He said no one had an interest in war, which, if it broke out, would harm all involved.

The president noted that about 100,000 people of Hungarian descent are living in Brazil, and many Brazilian students are studying in Hungary.

Regarding his talks with Hungarian President Janos Ader, Bolsonaro said Brazil was often portrayed as a destroyer of the Amazonian rainforest. In reality, however, wildlife was protected on 63 percent of rainforests, and massive afforestation projects were under way, he said, adding that the attacks against Brazil had been launched by agri-business circles.

Before the press conference, the two sides signed agreements on cooperation in defence, humanitarian undertakings and water management.

Brazil to cooperate with Hungary Helps programme

The Brazilian government will cooperate with the Hungary Helps programme under a memorandum of understanding signed by the two countries on Thursday, the prime minister’s office said.

In the MoU focusing on humanitarian cooperation, Hungary and Brazil agreed on the need to help those in need in their homeland rather than encouraging migration, and to support Christians, “the most persecuted religious community in the world”. The two countries will jointly help Christian communities exposed to violence and share humanitarian best-practices, it said.

The government’s Hungary Helps programme seeks to assist persecuted Christians, prevent migration through humanitarian aid, and win over other governments for the cause of hundreds of millions of Christians exposed to persecution.

The programme has so far signed agreements with government agencies of Estonia, Greece, Poland, Slovenia, the United States, and now Brazil.

The Hungary Helps programme has assisted 500,000 people worldwide in the past five years, the office said.

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