Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Hungary’s diplomacy meets expectations in 2023

Hungary's diplomacy met the government's expectations last year: Hungary managed to stay out of the war in Ukraine and maintained its energy cooperation with Russia, the foreign minister said in a panel discussion at the National Public Service University on Monday.

The foreign ministry quoted Peter Szijjarto as saying that “the government is to ensure that no foreign policy decision, move, or statement should jeopardise Hungary in the midst of the war in the neighbourhood, nor lead to an escalation of that war.”

“Moreover, we must turn every stone so that the war is over as soon as possible and there are as few casualties and as little destruction as possible,” he said. While “Hungary is a good and reliable partner in the European Union and in NATO, we need to maintain a cooperation with Russia that serves national interests,” he added.

Szijjarto said he had been criticised by many for maintaining ties with Russia, and said “.I am the foreign minister, and in diplomacy the difficult task is not to meet partners you agree with on important matters but to maintain ties . with those whom we do not see eye to eye on some cardinal issues but with whom cooperation serves national interests.”

Concerning the war in Ukraine, Szijjarto said “the global majority” wanted peace, while Europe’s leaders “make considerations in line with the perceptions dictated by the media rather than considering reality”. The situation could change, however, if Donald Trump won the US presidential elections this autumn because if that happens, “the world’s number one superpower will start speaking the language peace, too,” he said.

On the subject of the EU’s enlargement in the Western Balkans, Szijjarto said “the illusion that the 27 member states have a serious support for enlargement should be given up . the declarations made behind closed doors being completely different from public ones.”

He regretted that Europe’s competitiveness was “plummeting” and called for “something that lends us momentum, freshness, ambitions, new energy . and it will not come from inside but from outside.” He insisted that “other powers” than the EU were trying to increase their influence in the Western Balkans and said “if the others prove faster than us, we will be left crying in the end.”

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