The EU’s Foreign Affairs Council usually calls for peace talks between the opposing parties in remote armed conflicts, but the opposite principle is applied toward the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, said Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó while he was in Slovenia on Tuesday.
“Anyone who advocates an immediate ceasefire and peace talks is immediately condemned and branded a Russian spy, a Kremlin propagandist, a friend of Putin,” the minister said.
He noted that with war raging on the continent, the position of peace is suddenly not the position of the EU bloc, despite the fact that it has been more than a year and a half since the war began and hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives while Europe’s economy has directly suffered.
Szijjártó said at a panel discussion at the Bled Strategic Forum that the EU is not in good shape today and has weakened a lot in recent years in the areas of security, the economy and energy security.
The Hungarian foreign minister said that this situation did come out of nowhere, but is the result of a series of decisions that were taken or not taken.
On the issue of security, he said that “the negative consequences of the war in Ukraine in the immediate neighborhood were particularly serious and that Hungarians were also dying in the fighting.”
In addition, Szijjártó said the European Union needs sensible reforms, enlargement of the bloc must be treated as a top priority, and the Western Balkan states must be admitted to the EU as soon as possible, as this would significantly strengthen the community.
Economic cooperation with China?
Szijjártó also stated that in 2010, the European Union’s share of world GDP was 22 percent, while China’s was 9 percent. However, today the situation has reversed, with China’s share at 18 percent and the EU’s at 17 percent.
He called the cutting of economic ties between Europe and China, the so-called “de-risking,” which some people wish to see, a mistake.
“I think the real risk is de-risking itself. It is not a risk to cooperate with a rapidly emerging economy, but to cut ourselves off from it,” he said.
Szijjártó added that strong economic cooperation with China could make a major contribution to the EU’s economic growth.