Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Hungary, Switzerland stand for sovereignty, peace

Hungary and Switzerland both attach great importance to bilateral cooperation, Peter Szijjarto, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said in Budapest on Thursday, underlining the two countries' support for peace and the protection of sovereignty as well as their efforts against migration.

Hungary has always treated Switzerland with great respect, Szijjarto told a joint press conference with Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis, according to a ministry statement.

“And this is partly because many of our persecuted compatriots found a second home in your country in 1956, and partly because we’ve always admired your adherence to sovereignty, we’ve always respected your stance for peace and have always felt a sense of community when it comes to efforts against illegal migration,” Szijjarto said.

“And all three of these have, unfortunately, become very topical issues here in Europe,” the minister said, arguing that Brussels had “still not given up on the idea of migration quotas and is sticking to its pro-migration policies”.

Szijjarto vowed that during Hungary’s upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union, the government would do everything in its power to change the EU’s migration policy so that it was centred on stopping the inflow of illegal migrants instead of “inviting” them.

“And it’s also clear that there’s an unprecedented amount of pressure on the governments that are sticking to their sovereign, patriotic and pro-peace policies,” Szijjarto said. “We can see the constant interference in the domestic politics of these countries.”

“We’re seeing the millions of dollars rolling into Hungary, too, just as we see the international smear campaigns, and that the flood of hate has led to an attempt on the life of Slovakia’s prime minister,” he said.

Szijjarto reassured his Swiss counterpart of Hungary’s commitment to peace “despite any pressure”.

He highlighted the significance of next month’s European parliamentary elections, saying “hardly a day goes by that one of our fellow European politicians doesn’t make another mad remark”. He said some “want to send troops to Ukraine, while others fantasise about the deployment of nuclear weapons, so with each passing day, we’re closer to the threat of an escalation to a world war”.

“We’re seeing what’s happening: European politicians are talking about the deployment of nuclear weapons, and the Russians are conducting an exercise in connection with the use of tactical nuclear weapons,” he said.

“So it’s time to call a stop to this madness,” Szijjarto said, adding that on June 9, European citizens will get the chance to delegate pro-peace politicians to the EP.

He praised Switzerland’s commitment to peace, welcoming its organisation of a peace conference while pointing out that all of the warring sides had to be present in order for there to be a hope of success.

The minister also underscored the importance of keeping communication channels open. “Limiting dialogue to those with whom you agree on everything is not a diplomatic achievement,” he said.

Szijjarto said the Hungarian government aimed to conclude the talks on an institutional framework agreement between the EU and Switzerland during its upcoming presidency.

“We would like it if the European Union returned to the grounds of common sense and brought Switzerland back into the Horizon and Erasmus+ programmes,” he said.

He welcomed that trade turnover between Hungary and Switzerland exceeded 2 billion euros last year. He said forty Swiss companies received government support for investments over the last ten years, noting that there are 900 Swiss businesses employing more than 30,000 people in Hungary today.

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