FM Szijjártó: Linking EU Funding To Rule Of Law ‘Fiction’

  • 4 May 2018 9:00 AM
  • Hungary Matters
FM Szijjártó: Linking EU Funding To Rule Of Law ‘Fiction’
For the time being, European Union funding as an issue tied to the rule of law “should be seen as fiction”, Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister, told journalists in Budapest, adding that the introduction of subjective criteria would run contrary to the EU’s laws.

The laws and treaties in force clearly state the rights and obligations of member states, he said, adding they applied uniformly. Hungary rejects any kind of proposal that would allow the use of EU payments as a tool for blackmail, he said.

In western Europe, attempts have been made to use EU funds as some kind of goodwill gesture to central Europeans, as if they were humanitarian donations, Szijjártó said.

“This is not so ... central Europe opened up its markets to western companies that have made massive profits. This is not a one-way street; everyone has to fulfill their obligations.” The allocation of resources is fixed by law, the minister said.

 “If anybody wants to change them, they must make a proposal and follow the requisite legal procedures.”

Szijjártó said that serious debates were expected in the next few months concerning the multilateral financial framework, including regarding farm subsidies. Hungary, he said, sides with France in opposing any attempt to curb farm funding. There are also serious disputes regarding cohesion funding, he added.

Szijjártó said the EU faced new challenges in terms of its financial framework. The previous cycle had not faced funding issues connected with migration, terrorist threats or security challenges, but now the bloc faces all of these, he said.

“We need to consider the new situation.” Calls for common border defence have been proved legitimate, he added.

Asked about the possible repercussions of Hungary not joining EU leaders in a statement against Chinese influence, Szijjártó said he did not expect any short-term consequences.

He noted that the volume of trade of the 17 countries of central Europe and China was dwarfed by Germany’s trade with China as well as France’s and Italy’s.

 “It’s just nonsense to force central Europeans to curb their own economic interests, for some reason, by criticising China,” he said. Szijjártó said the prime ministers of a number of countries had attended the One Belt summit yet they had not voiced this position at the time. “

And now, when the Chinese are absent, they quickly come up with an opinion paper,” he said.

MTI Photo: KKM

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