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EU Funds Are Being Withheld for Political Reasons, Says Foreign Minister

MTI-Hungary Today 2023.05.05.

The European Union funds due to Hungary are being withheld for political reasons, unfairly and without any legal basis, and the European Commission’s new and new demands are becoming unjust, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in Brussels on Thursday.

Answering journalists’ questions at a press conference following the EU Council meeting, the Minister said that the Brussels body’s expectations regarding the rule of law are like an endless GPS. “You punch in where you are going, and then you realize it was, say, five kilometers away, but you have been driving for three days, and the GPS keeps telling you to turn right now, left now, turn around now,” he said.

He stated that it was unfair that Hungary had already met the requirements, and then something else always comes along. He pointed out that this was not Brussels’ money but the work of the European people, including the Hungarian people.

Therefore, Hungary is entitled to a part of the funds, so that we can, for example, significantly increase teachers’ salaries,”

he emphasized. He added at the same time that it was a “disgrace” that some Hungarian MEPs “make it their life’s work” to block funds that are legally due.

In Brussels, the Foreign Minister also talked about how the war in Ukraine had led to a triple crisis in the world – energy, food security, and the economic crisis – which was being exacerbated by the measures taken in Brussels. Speaking at a press conference following the EU Development Council, the Minister said that at least two of these crises are affecting 94 countries, according to the UN.

The Foreign Minister spoke of the food crisis, which he said posed a serious security risk, as it was hitting the most vulnerable countries in Africa and the Middle East hardest, potentially leading to violence, a rise in the threat of terrorism, and ultimately a new wave of immigration. He warned that

Europe would not be able to cope with another massive wave of migration in its current state.

“The fact is that this triple crisis has been met with a seriously flawed response from Brussels,” he stated. Commenting on these “self-defeating measures,” Péter Szijjártó said that instead of restrictions, energy supplies to Europe should have been increased and that Brussels was not helping but hindering member states in producing the necessary energy themselves, for example, by putting pressure on them to impose nuclear sanctions.

Here and now I would like to reiterate that this will certainly not happen. So Hungary will not agree to any kind of nuclear sanctions, even minimal, however small,”

he emphasized.

On the food crisis, he recalled the objective of Europe’s contribution to Ukraine’s critical agricultural exports to Africa and the Middle East. “What happened in comparison? After we opened the so-called solidarity corridors, Ukrainian agricultural products arrived in Central Europe and stayed there. What happened was that instead of supplying food to Africa, they destroyed Central European producers,” he pointed out.

The Minister said that a solution was being discussed and that the government would only approve a decision that would ensure that Ukrainian agricultural products could not be exported to Central Europe as a final destination. He called Ukrainian grain dumping unacceptable, as Ukraine has very different rules for farmers than the EU, which would create competition with completely different conditions, which is not fair. He said the only solution to these challenges was peace as soon as possible.

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Featured photo via Facebook/Péter Szijjártó

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