Hungarian foreign minister: Brexit is 'Brussels' failure'
BUD APEST â" Britainâs decision to leave the European Union is âBrusselsâ failure,â Hungaryâs foreign minister said Friday at a press conference in which he appeared alongside British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
âHungary has always respected the decision of the British people, though it has felt sorry about this decision,â Foreign Minister PÃ©ter SzijjÃ¡rtÃ³ told reporters. âBut at the same time we need to highlight that this decision was Brusselsâ failure.â
The British people, he said, made their concerns about the bloc known ahead of the June 2016 referendum but the European Commission did not listen.
âThis current European Commission will go down in history books as the European Commission under whose mandate Europeâs second-strongest and the worldâs fifth-strongest economy decided to leave the EU,â SzijjÃ¡rtÃ³ said.
Hungary, he added, continues to see âBrexit as a huge problem from the EUâs perspective.â
British officials have been engaging in a charm offensive across Europe, lobbying member statesâ governments ahead of a summit of EU leaders on March 22. Secretary Johnson had dinner with SzijjÃ¡rtÃ³âs family and went for a morning run with the minister ahead of the press conference, where he praised the state of U.K.-Hungary ties.
âYou can see the U.K. and Hungary sharing a common perspective,â Johnson said, noting that he believes the two countries see eye-to-eye on a number of issues, including Russia, Syria, the Western Balkans, security and migration.
âThe U.K. will remain committed to the security and defense of our friends in Central and Eastern Europe,â Johnson said.
SzijjÃ¡rtÃ³ and Johnsonâs discussions included the thorny issue of citizensâ rights during the Brexit transition period. The Hungarian minister noted that while he would like to see citizensâ rights guaranteed he also hopes some Hungarians will want to return to work at home. Hundreds of thousands of Hungarians currently live and work in the U.K.
âI just want to stress my instincts on this, which are to try to be as generous and welcoming as we can,â said Johnson. âWhatever we do, there must be strict reciprocity.â
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