A new European Union proposal under which the bloc’s foreign policy decisions would no longer require unanimous support from member states is “dangerous” from Hungary’s perspective and “completely goes against” the EU treaties, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said after meeting his EU counterparts in Luxembourg on Monday.
The proposal “being forced on the bloc by the liberal mainstream governments and Brussels itself” violates EU rules which say the union’s foreign policy decisions require unanimous consent from member states, Szijjártó said in a video message.
Under the new plan, the EU could enact foreign policy decisions with a simple majority vote, he said. The new system would serve to deprive member states that do not belong to the “liberal mainstream” of their right to enforce their own interests when deciding on foreign policy measures, Szijjártó insisted.
Hungary believes that changing this rule would be “harmful and unfair”, the minister said, arguing that any negative effects of a foreign policy decision would also affect member states whose positions were not taken into consideration when the decision was issued.
“This is an act of revenge against us for blocking the EU’s unified position in support of the UN’s global migration compact,” he said.
The EU wanted all member states to back the UN compact but Hungary refused and it will continue to refuse to support migration, Szijjártó said. The country reserves itself the right to act in accordance with its own interests within international organisations, he added.
Hungary, he said, was not alone in its opposition to the proposal, saying that several other member states were also against “forcing the proposal through”.
Concerning the Western Balkans, the minister said it had become clear that the EU was “on the back foot” in the “competition for the region”.
Europe’s “slowness” has allowed the United States, Russia and China to take the initiative to make gains in the region, Szijjártó said, adding that this was against Hungary’s interests. He also urged the bloc to speed up the process of Serbia’s EU integration.
As regards the situation in Belarus, Szijjártó said that in spite of the recent expulsion of the Polish and Lithuanian ambassadors from the country, it was important for the EU to maintain communication with Minsk. He said the EU could include Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on a new list of sanctioned officials from the country.
The EU is also planning to impose sanctions on a new list of Russian officials over the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, he said.
In the featured photo: Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó in Luxembourg. Photo by Márton Király/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade